Beloit Powerhouse Receives Design Excellence Citation of Merit

Azure — "In Wisconsin, Studio Gang Revives a Coal Plant into a Recreational Hub"

"In the past 10 years, the US has decommissioned 318 of 530 (60%) coal-burning power plants. While this signals progress in the urgently needed transition to green energy, it also raises the need for new ideas to address aging energy infrastructure and its obsolescence. By reimagining a former coal-burning power plant as a student union centered on recreation and wellness, the Beloit Powerhouse sets an important precedent for the transformative potential of reuse projects.

Located along the Rock River, adjacent to the College’s campus and close to downtown Beloit, the Powerhouse project combines an assemblage of landmarked, historic buildings that made up the Blackhawk Generating Station (constructed between 1908–1947) along with a new field house addition. The design retains architectural features and industrial equipment from the original structures while incorporating new sustainable practices and lively gathering spaces that encourage students to mix with each other and the larger Beloit community.

For the first time in the College’s history, student recreation and athletics are housed in the same space, breaking barriers between the two formerly siloed groups toward a more unified student body. The project also strategically adapts the existing structure and equipment, using what is already there to create spaces for recreation, collaboration, and study while celebrating the building’s history.

As an ever-increasing amount of the world’s energy infrastructure stands vacant amid widespread transition to cleaner forms of energy, the Beloit Powerhouse shows how innovative design can transform and renew these derelict spaces into dynamic assets for their communities."

Read more about the design features of the Powerhouse and see all the winners online.