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College Picks Architect to Convert Power Plant into Rec Center

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Copyright 2013 Journal Sentinel Inc.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
October 9, 2013 Wednesday
Final Edition
B News; Pg. 8
403 words
Beloit College picks cutting-edge architect
MARY LOUISE SCHUMACHER, Journal Sentinel architecture critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By MARY LOUISE SCHUMACHER

Journal Sentinel architecture critic

Beloit College has selected one of the more celebrated architects in the U.S. to convert an electrical power plant into a recreation center that will showcase sustainable design and revitalize the riverfront.

The college's board of trustees selected Studio Gang Architects of Chicago to transform the century-old power plant,owned by Alliant Energy. The plan calls for a transition of ownership of the electrical Blackhawk Generating Station on the Rock River in Beloit from the Wisconsin utility to the school in 2016.

Studio Gang is known for designs that are pragmatic but cutting edge, elegant without being overly expressive. The studio's process is one that integrates a diverse range of experts, from ecologists to water specialists to artists.

Studio Gang is led by Jeanne Gang, a MacArthur Fellow and FastCompany Master of Design winner. Her work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago last fall. Last month, Gang and managing principal Mark Schendel accepted the 2013 National Design Award in Architecture from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum during a reception at the White House.

Studio Gang's most known project is the undulating, 82-story tower in Chicago, the Aqua Tower.

"The Studio Gang team is very excited to partner with Beloit College," Gang said in a statement. "Together we can transform this historic structure into a new hub for wellness, green power, and great architecture."

Fundraising awaits

Beloit College will need to raise $30 million for the project to move forward and to formalize the sale of the electrical power plant to the college. The funds will be used to acquire the property and restore it.

Beloit College has completed a campuswide study to look at ways that the building might be used, including a 150-seat auditorium and a swimming pool.

One of the more known transformations of a power plant was the reuse of the electrical power plant on the south bank of the River Thames in London into the Tate Modern museum by Herzog & de Meuron architects in 2000. The large turbine hall has become one of the more prestigious locations for artists to create installations in the world.

Copyright 2013, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

October 9, 2013

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