Sacramento, CA

SMUD Museum of Science & Curiosity


Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by William Polk, the 1912 power station sat unoccupied for decades. Thanks to a private-public partnership between the city, the museum, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and others, the building was reinvented as part of a new museum focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The project included renovating and repairing the historic building, constructing a new 22,000 sq ft addition with a 122-seat planetarium, and addressing the contaminated, flood-prone site. SGH consulted on exterior wall repairs and the roofing and waterproofing design for the project.

Working with the architect, contractor, and historic preservation consultant, SGH consulted on repairs and improvements to the existing powerhouse. Highlights of our work include:

  • Consulting on below-grade waterproofing for the existing foundation walls and vapor retarders on the powerhouse’s new slabs, considering the site is prone to flooding
  • Performing petrographic analyses of concrete samples extracted from the exterior walls, determining the carbonation depth, and evaluating the reinforcement condition
  • Designing concrete repairs to the existing walls to address cracking and spalling, including complete reconstruction of an ornate cartouche over an entrance
  • Incorporating anti-carbonation treatment and embedding zinc anodes to extend the useful life of the repairs
  • Developing details to anchor original lettered concrete panels to the wall structure
  • Specifying an elastomeric coating for the exterior walls to limit water penetration and mimic the original finish
  • Consulting on a complete replacement of the roofing and roof structure
  • Supporting the project team through construction by reviewing submittals, establishing a pricing system for repairs and quantities, visiting the site to observe ongoing enclosure work, and helping the project team address field conditions

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value


Project Size




Repair & Rehabilitation | Preservation
Building Enclosures | Structures | Applied Science & Research
Culture & Entertainment
Dreyfuss + Blackford
Specialized Capabilities
Repair & Strengthening | Building Science | Preservation | Roofing & Waterproofing | Materials Science | Microscopy

Key team members

Carolyn Searls
Carolyn Searls
Senior Principal
Matthew  Worster
Matthew Worster
Associate Principal