The design of the Powerhouse Science Center includes the rehabilitation of former PG&E Power Station B, as well as an addition. The vacant building sits prominently on the banks of the Sacramento River at 400 Jibboom Street and is visible from Interstate 5 and the American River Bike Trail. Once complete, the Powerhouse will serve as a regional hub for science education, exploration and promotion in Northern California and is designed to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification rating of Silver.
As a premier regional science center, the rehabilitation of Power Station B will celebrate the building’s advances in early 20th century energy production. Consisting of reinforced concrete and steel framed boiler and turbine rooms, the bipartite layout will house exhibits for children of all ages. A new multi-level addition will include the science center entrance, main vertical circulation, a 110-seat Planetarium, offices, and café. Inside the large open volumes, a new intermediate floor will be added to increase exhibit space. Rehabilitation of the significant historic features of the power station will be integrated with distinct but complementary contemporary architecture reflecting current technology.
The original Power Station was designed in 1912 in the Beaux Arts style by architect Willis Polk and was formally closed in 1954. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, California Register of Historic Places and the Sacramento Register of Historic & Cultural Resources.