The Blackhawk Generating Station, known as “The Powerhouse” is a decommissioned coal-fired electrical plant adjacent to the Rock River. Recently, Beloit College acquired the 100 year old river-front property with plans to develop it into the center of campus life. dbHMS is working with Studio Gang Architects in the design of a student activity and recreation center. The vision for the Powerhouse is a signature facility that will boast the college’s reputation through creative and innovative design features in a historically industrial space.
The building will include an array of radiant systems conditioning the Powerhouse. The Rock River provides a means of free cooling by using the river as an instrument of the building systems, which allows the Powerhouse to be passively conditioned throughout much of the year. This will in turn be supplemented by high efficiency boiler and heat pump systems.
While retaining the architectural features of the original structure, the new program will include a student union, gathering spaces, coffee shops, flexible meeting spaces, lecture halls, and a theater. Additionally, the facility will house a fitness center with an indoor track, health and wellness center, and an 8-lane competition pool with space for 250 spectators. This state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to be complete in 2018.