Beloit College Powerhouse

Beloit, WI

Under Construction

Beloit College


120,000 sf

Targeting LEED Silver


Looking to enhance the student experience and remediate the nearby riverfront, Beloit College partnered with Studio Gang to reimagine a former coal-burning power plant as a student union centered on recreation and wellness.

Nestled between the College’s campus and the Rock River, the Powerhouse will feature a 10,000-sf fitness center and 17,000-sf recreational gym, including a 3-lane track and 8-lane competition pool, as well as spaces for conversation, collaboration, and study. Additional amenities include a coffee shop, student lounges, club rooms, conference center, and a lecture hall/theater.

Existing powerhouse photo by Tom Harris.

Archival photo of the Blackhawk Generating Station, the site of the future Powerhouse

Reimagining a hundred-year-old structure and former coal-burning plant presents significant challenges, especially to efficient energy use. Heating and cooling the spaces of the Powerhouse, for example, requires addressing heat flow through the building skin—inward in the summer and outward in the winter—as well as the removal of heat generated by people, lights, and equipment.

Buildings usually use air for heating and cooling; however, water, which is much denser, is actually more efficient. Radiant panels integrated into the building’s surfaces are able to use energy from the river water for most of the Powerhouse’s heating and cooling needs, improving comfort within the building and maintaining the highest quality of air, while also significantly minimizing total energy use.


Finalist, Institutional - Unbuilt Category, Architizer A+ Awards, 2019 / Beloit College Powerhouse

Winner, WAFX, Overall and Reuse category, World Architecture Festival, 2018

Finalist, Health - future projects category, World Architecture Festival, 2018

Special Mention, Unbuilt Sports and Recreation category, Architizer A+ Awards, 2018



Beloit College Powerhouse Wins Overall WAFx Prize at World Architecture Festival

Beloit College Powerhouse has been awarded the WAFX Prize from the World Architecture Festival. “We have been amazed by the standard of entries across this year’s future project categories and the prize winners in addressing some of humanities greatest concerns. Studio Gang’s masterful Beloit College Powerhouse Project triumphed over a very strong field," commented Programme Director Paul Finch.