Reclaiming the Beloit waterfront

Thursday 06 Nov 2014

Beloit College in Wisconsin hires Studio Gang Architects to transform power plant into 130,000 sq ft student hub by 2018

Beloit College, seeking to enhance student experience and the downtown Beloit riverfront, is partnering with Studio Gang Architects to reimagine a decommissioned coal-burning power plant as a sustainable, lively space for student interaction, health, and well-being.

Nestled between the College’s campus and the Rock River, the Powerhouse, scheduled for completion in 2018, will include student engagement spaces such as a coffee shop, lounges and student club rooms, a conference centre, and a lecture hall and theatre. The building will also house a 3-lane track, an 8-lane competition pool with space for 250 spectators, a 10,000 sq ft fitness centre, and a 17,000 sq ft recreational gym.

The design retains architectural features of the original industrial structure while incorporating new sustainable practices. The building’s substantial brick walls and tile wainscoting will be preserved by utilising an ‘isothermal envelope’.

This system reduces energy use by transferring energy from the adjacent river into a network of tubes under the exterior skin, transforming the building walls into a radiant surface that will maintain a constant temperature within the Powerhouse throughout the year. Coal bunkers and steel tubing will be kept in place, preserving elements of the historic Blackhawk Generating Station, with the suspended running track weaving together the different structures of the existing plant.

The Powerhouse will connect to academic and residential buildings by bridge, enhancing the campus’s engagement with the river and further catalyzing the redevelopment of Beloit’s riverfront.

“We’re excited to work with Beloit College to transform an outmoded source of electricity into a wellspring of human energy,” stated Jeanne Gang. “Our hope is that by reclaiming the Beloit waterfront for people, our project will inspire other communities around the globe to see human well-being as vitally interconnected with a healthy and clean environment.”


Owner: Beloit College
Architect: Studio Gang Architects
P&FP Engineering and LEED Consultant: Angus Young Associates, Inc.
Structural Engineering: Matrix Engineering Corporation
Mechanical and Environmental Engineering: dbHMS
Civil Engineering: R.H. Batterman & Co.
Athletic Facility Consultant: Moody Nolan
Landscape Architect and Ecological Design: Applied Ecological Services
Cost Consultant: Venue
Vertical Transportation: Jenkins & Huntington, Inc.

Key Facts:

Sustainable Buildings Education
United States

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