Local Spotlight: Thulaganyo Tau By Tlotlo Tsamaase

30 Jan 2017
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This month’s one-on-one interview is with Thulaganyo Tau, managing director of Design Centre. From 2005-2010, he had interned at Autodesk South Africa parallel to his study in Bachelor of Architecture straight through to his Masters at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He completed his studies in 2008. During his attachment, they worked on projects in South Africa with a company called World’s View Technology on projects such as the O.R Tambo International Airport upgrade, Green Point Stadium, etc. In 2009, he established his firm—Design Center, which is an associate of MayFlower Design Architects—in Botswana with a core focus on architecture, electrical, mechanical, and structural and construction services. His firm has worked on over 500 designs, specializing in residential. Included in that lot, are mosques, churches and schools that he designed for free. Other projects include: Majestic Five Hotel in Palaype, Judge Motswagole in Phakalane (under construction), Shoprite Tlokweng/Moshupa, Seabelo’s House in Hillside. In addition to his architectural education, he obtained another degree in computers and majored in programming.

Below are several projects he’s worked on and their brief details:

Zeerus Mosque

Stage: Conceptual

Year: 2014

Architect: Thulaganyo Tau & Yunus Moosajee

Funding: P8.5 million

Location: Zeerust, South Africa

Area: 3000 sq. m.

Construction Period: 13 months to construct.

Notes: Mosque design falls under Islamic architecture, and it is imperative that the mosque faces qibla, which is the direction Muslims face when praying, oriented to Mecca. Within the architecture of the mosque, a niche known as the mihrab indicates that direction. Mr. Tau notes that mosques are more complicated than designing churches, in regards to sourcing specific materials for use. All the other features are similar to other conceptual designs. “Basically we use Islamic architecture,the mosque is more complicated, even the materials, for instance most materials we have to get from South Africa or Saudi Arabia,” he says. We also have to cater for new people where we will have a room with a 50-inch screen that you watch of what to do when you get inside a mosque. Mr. Tau says, “Sustainable design often relates to the idea of no wastage. Hence, building placement needs to be carefully considered by the designer. The chosen location need to be within walking distance range. In this sense, the mosques need to be placed in the heart of the communal facilities. The mosque must have accessible access route to and from the mosque, equipped with multiple entrances and it should be less gated. The right setting will provide a sense of welcoming to the user, easy access and fully utilized mosque at all times, Building scale within context will provide a friendly environment to the user. If the building is built too large or monumental, it maximizes the use of energy and building materials. For instance, more energy is needed to cool and lit up spaces in a larger building. Therefore, to avoid energy and material wastage, building must always be built in proportion to the human scale and help to give comfort level to the user. From the above, it is evident that sustainable mosque form design had been outlined.”


Gaborone Universal College (GUC)

Stage: Concept

Year: 2012.

Architect: Thulaganyo Tau & Yunus Moosajee.

Funding: P12 million.

Construction Period: 12 months.

Function: An educational facility that would serve as a solarized building with main motive to save on power.

Area: 3000 sq. m.


Majestic Five Hotel

Year: 2008.

Architect: Thulaganyo Tau & Yunus Moosajee.

Funding: P50 million.

Area: 4 ha.

Concept: The architect notes that the reason for the Majestic Five Hotel’s construction was to diversify the locality in way of services and giving value to the area, as they believe that Palapye is growing and developing. Issues noted involved sourcing materials from China, which brought a delay to the project’s construction period.



Construction Period: 2011-2014.

Architect: Thulaganyo Tau & Yunus Moosajee.

Funding: P3.5 million.

Location: Tsholofelo.

Area: 1400 sq. m.

Notes: The design was to be of a contemporary style and eco-friendly, although it went above the client’s budget. Mr. Tau says, “In the design of this house, I seek to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space and the ecosystem at large. Used a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment. The idea of sustainability, or ecological design, was to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.”