to enhance student life as well as urban activity along the riverfront of the small wisconsin town, the liberal arts institution beloit college is planning the conversion of a decommissioned coal-burning power plant for use as a learning and wellness center. the university has called upon chicago-based studio gang to imagine the major adaptive reuse project, with the scheme’s first images recently released. the design seeks to create a, ‘sustainable, lively space for student interaction, health, and well-being,’ and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

studio gang beloit college learning and wellness center power plant designboom
all images © studio gang



sited adjacent to the rock river, the revamped ‘powerhouse’ will fuse spaces for student engagement with fitness and recreation program. this mixture includes a coffee shop, lounges, club rooms, a conference center, lecture hall, and theater, as well as a 3-lane track, 8-lane competition swimming pool with seating for 250 spectators, a 10,000 square-foot fitness center, and a 17,000 square-foot gymnasium.

studio gang beloit college learning and wellness center power plant designboom
the new student center will include a variety of spaces for student engagement



for this post-industrial redevelopment, the prominent architectural features of the power plant will be retained, while integrating sustainable practices for a more ecologically conscious structure. the building’s brick walls and tile wainscoting will be preserved with the addition of an ‘isothermal envelope’ for reduced energy usage. the technology transfers energy generated by the adjacent river into a network of tubes under the exterior building skin, resulting in a radiant envelope which maintains regulated temperature within the facility throughout the year.

studio gang beloit college learning and wellness center power plant designboomamong the various recreation facilities included in the ‘powerhouse’ are a swimming pool and upper level track



in regards to the project’s aspirations, architect jeanne gang states, ‘we’re excited to work with beloit college to transform an outmoded source of electricity into a wellspring of human energy. 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.’



project info:


location: beloit, wisconsin, USA
size: 130,000 sqf
anticipated completion date: 2018
architect: studio gang architects
owner: beloit college
associate architect, E, 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.