Power Plant Design

The Design Question

The project has been approved. The site has been selected. The property has mostly been acquired. The question is: What should our new power generating facility look like, and how should it fit into our community?

An Inclusive Approach

Using the same inclusive approach that has driven the P21 initiative from the start, the Holland community assembled a broad cross-section of people from around the area—called the Architectural Blue Ribbon Panel--to help deliberate what the answers should be.

There were representatives from local governments, Holland-area non-profit organizations, environmental organizations and stakeholder who will be impacted by the proximity of the new facility.


The group had three essential goals:

  1. Develop a Resource
  2. Create a Destination
  3. Enhance a Gateway


The resource would be reliable, world class infrastructure that would provide a sustainable, long term power source, become an Educational hub and increase capacity of the snowmelt system.


The destination would be a place that would make people feel comfortable, provide activities that draw the public and be a node to connect people to the community.


The gateway would celebrate both the community and facility, express the context for how the facility fits the community and enhance access to, and the experience people may enjoy in the area.


Evaluating how to reach these goals the group looked at wide-ranging factors like aesthetics, environmental fit, being a good neighbor, good stewardship, lasting and others. As importantly, the committee believed the facility should make a statement about the forward-looking nature of our community, and represent something that people can be very proud of.

The Group

The formation of the group began in late summer 2013 and it gained momentum with its work late in October 2013 working closely with HDR, the architectural firm selected for the project. As the work of envisioning the new project moved ahead, a striking picture began to emerge of modern design that could be integrated seamlessly into the environment and the adjacent green space.

Participants agreed that even with the differing backgrounds of the panel members, the group quickly formed a strong consensus in favor of the design, which is presented here in this first look for P21 visitors.

The Architectural Process Explained