SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity

Sacramento, CA

Originally built to provide the primary source of energy for the city, the existing PG&E Powerhouse was transformed to provide a new kind of energy. Reimagined as the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, the historic structure provides a place for science education and exploration, and is a highly visible landmark on the Sacramento River and Interstate 5 just north of downtown. The powerhouse, built in 1920, sits on the bank of the river and was originally designed in the classical revival style to house the largest steam turbine power plant in the region. A new addition accompanies the existing structure which required a surgical retrofit to maintain the historic fabric while upgrading the interior space for its new use.  

Quick Facts

  • Size: 53,000 SF
  • Architect: Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture
  • Original building was stabilized in 1993 using jet-grouted soil columns that replaced decayed timber piling
  • Construction Cost: $38,000,000
  • Contractor: Otto Construction
  • The new addition will contain support, classroom, and office space including a domed planetarium

Photo credit: Kyle Jeffers Photography