Beloit’s Powerhouse has captured an international architecture prize nearly a year before its scheduled opening.
The ingenious conversion of a former coal-fired power generating plant into a combined student union, rec center, and athletic facility was named “best overall future project” by the World Architecture Festival in November. The WAFX prize, a competition for future projects held in conjunction with the international festival, recognizes projects in which architects are seeking to address some of the world’s most pressing ecological and societal challenges in the coming decade.
Studio Gang Architects, Beloit’s award-winning architecture partners, entered the Powerhouse in two categories: “reuse” and “education.” In September, the project was first shortlisted in the “reuse” category before it was selected as the best overall entry within 10 different categories for future projects. Studio Gang Architects presented Beloit’s project at the festival in Amsterdam in November.
Judges cited the Powerhouse for replacing “an old model of energy with a new model to support the health and wellbeing of its many inhabitants” and for fostering a public connection to the riverfront in Beloit and embracing the river. The judges wrote that they were “impressed not only with the repurposing of its cavernous industrial spaces, but with how the project maximizes its riverfront location, utilizing river water to manage the temperature of the building while also significantly minimizing total energy use.”
The World Architecture Festival is a major festival and awards ceremony held annually for the architecture industry.
The Powerhouse is on schedule to open in the fall of 2019.