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Studio Gang Chosen to Convert Power Plant to Rec Center

Photograph © Trevor Johnson, courtesy of Beloit College.

Photograph © Trevor Johnson, courtesy of Beloit College.

The board of trustees of Beloit College, a private liberal arts school in Wisconsin, chose Chicago-based architecture firm Studio Gang to convert a century-old electrical power plant into a recreation center for its students.

The goal of the project is to utilize sustainable design and revitalize the riverfront. Beloit President Scott Bierman emphasized the center’s mission to connect the college “to community, campus to river, and our city’s past to its future,” according to a press release published by Studio Gang.

Led my McArthur fellow Jeanne Gang, the firm is nationally renowned and uses a wide range of experts, including ecologists and water specialists, to complete their tasks. Gang and her managing principal Mark Schendel recently accepted the 2013 National Design Award in Architecture from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at the White House.

The firm is best known for its creation of Chicago’s Aqua Tower (225 North Columbus Drive), an award-winning 82-story high-rise with a hotel, apartments, and condos within it.

There’s no doubt that Studio Gang will come up with an elegant and innovative green design for Beloit’s recreational center. Right now, the school needs to raise the necessary $30 million by 2016 to complete the project.

According to a survey conducted by Beloit and quoted in an article by Journal Sentinel, students hope to use the space for a 150-seat auditorium and a swimming pool.

The school is currently working with Alliant Energy Corp. that’s based in Madison, Wisconsin in order to sell the Blackhawk Generating Station to Beloit. They’ve set a three-year time period to finalize the deal, according to Chicago Business Journal.

Now that Studio Gang was hired, Alliant can prepare the building and determine what parts of the structure needs to be removed and recycled. This process formalizes the college’s plans and will be an important factor for fundraising efforts.

Author: Mark Miles

Mark Miles works for Dreamtown, one of Chicago's largest real estate search firms. Editor's note: While Mark works for Dreamtown, his posts are NOT sponsored content. No money or any other compensation is exchanged for his articles.

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