Rehabilitation, Renovation and/or Restoration

Museum of Science and Curiosity

Sacramento, CA

Museum of Science and Curiosity

2022 | National Award — Merit | Rehabilitation / Renovation / Restoration

Photo Credit: Kyle Jeffers

The Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC) transformed an abandoned riverfront structure into a regional hub for science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education, exploration and promotion. The existing site constraints, combined with its urban setting and the presence of the historic power station, informed the creation of the LEED Platinum science center. The historic PG&E River Station B underwent a complete rehabilitation and construction of a new second floor level inside which created 27,500 sq. ft. of exhibit space. A new two-story addition of 21,440 sq. ft. projects from the east side containing a lobby, classrooms, offices, café and 120-seat planetarium dome theater.

MOSAC anchors Robert T. Matsui Waterfront Park, borders the southern terminus of the 32-mile American River Bike Trail, and is a principal component of the Riverfront revitalization. Its primary use as a power station was discontinued in the 1930s; it was utilized for testing purposes through the 1940s, and formally decommissioned and abandoned in 1954. Originally designed in the Beaux Arts style by architect Willis Polk in 1912, it is on the National Register of Historic Places, California Register of Historical Resources, and the Sacramento Register of Historic & Cultural Resources.

Design-Build Delivery Method Helps Team Navigate Challenges

Rising from the banks of the Sacramento River as it did more than 100 years ago, MOSAC provides a home for innovation and learning through STEAM education. The project began with a historic building unused for decades sitting directly adjacent to the levee, with hazardous materials inside and encapsulated onsite, and the client included a non-profit and a municipal building owner. These conditions created a complex challenge which could only be solved with the design-build delivery model. Deep collaboration, a holistic fundraising and budget management process, and several committed, long-term partners worked together to save this historic resource, as well as create a catalyst for change in the neighborhood and the hearts and minds of countless future scientists, engineers and artists. MOSAC is certified LEED Platinum; is listed on National, State and local historic registers; and has one of the newest, most-technologically-advanced projection dome theaters in the country.

Design-Build Team

Client/Owner: Museum of Science and Curiosity
Design-Build Firm: Otto Construction (WBE)
General Contractor: Otto Construction (WBE)
Architect: Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture
Engineer: Buehler Engineering (Structural)
Capital Engineering Consultants (Mechanical)
The Engineering Enterprise (Electrical)
NV5 (Civil Engineering)
Jacobs (Landscape)
Salter, Inc. (Acoustic)
Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger (Historic Preservation & Waterproofing)
Specialty Contractors: Evans & Sutherland and Spitz (Planetarium)
Frank M. Booth, Inc. (Mechanical)
Vasko Electric, Inc. (Electrical)
Construction Duration: 33 Months
Project Cost: $40.2 Million