Skip Navigation

Campus Stories



Powerhouse: Best Future Building in the World

November 9, 2018
By Whitney Helm
Render of the completed Powerhouse viewed from over the river, the Beloit campus in the background.

Best in the world? Check.

The World Architecture Festival has just awarded the Beloit College Powerhouse the top overall prize among its 2018 Future Projects.

"We had aspired to develop a facility that was among the best in higher education in America, but we overachieved," President Scott Bierman wrote in an email to campus.

The WAFX Prize was created in 2017 to recognize future projects that identify ecological and societal challenges which architects are actively seeking to address over the next decade. The announcement was made November 8, 2018.

Paul Finch, programme director of the World Architecture Festival, stated his excitement about the project. "We have been amazed by the standard of entries across this year's future project categories and the prize winners in addressing some of humanity's greatest concerns. Studio Gang's masterful Beloit College Powerhouse Project triumphed over a very strong field and we look forward to hearing more from them and the other prize winners when the Festival convenes in November," said Finch in a WAFX press release.

Studio Gang Architects entered the Powerhouse in the competition. In September, it first won the top award in the World Architecture Foundation's re-use category before capturing the overall prize among future buildings. The Powerhouse project is still competing in the health category which will be judged live at the festival in Amsterdam later this month. Studio Gang Architects Founder Jeanne Gang will also give a keynote at the festival.

The Powerhouse

The Powerhouse repurposes the decommissioned Blackhawk Generating Station on the Rock River into a 120,000-square-foot student center in every sense of the phrase. The Powerhouse will be a first-of-its-kind facility in the country—one that interlaces student life spaces with recreational facilities, further connects campus with the community, and preserves history while looking to the future.