Studio Gang’s winning project is to transform a former power plant into a student union and recreation facility. It seeks to replace an old model of energy with a new model to support the health and well-being of its inhabitants. The powerhouse is designed to become a center for human energy, activity, and health. The judges 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 whilst also significantly minimizing total energy use.
Paul Finch, program director of WAF commented: “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.”
The WAFX prize is awarded to future projects identifying key ecological and societal challenges architects are seeking to address. Challenge areas include climate change, energy saving and carbon emissions, water wastage and shortage, aging populations and health issues, reusable materials, smart cities, building technology, cultural identity, and ethics, power, and justice.