The California State Railroad Museum has been a resounding success since its opening in 1981, but has always needed a permanent annex for restoration work and additional displays. Our firm designed an award-winning Museum of Railroad Technology project in 1990, but economic constraints delayed execution. Later, we were commissioned to study the adaptive reuse of several historic structures in the original Southern Pacific Railyard, adjacent to the Museum. The setting is the birthplace of the Transcontinental Railroad, and holds tremendous opportunity. We developed a preliminary scheme and budget study which allowed the State to prepare funding requests to realize this important project.
Our design concept envisions the adaptive re-use of the original historic brick and timber structures. The clerestory and factory glazing would be restored and improved with insulated low-e glazing, while the roof structure would receive seismic reinforcement, insulation and new high-reflectance roofing. The resulting building would be a delicate balance of historic preservation and highly efficient, environmentally sensitive renovation and expansion to convert the existing buildings on the Sacramento Railyards site into a popular public museum attraction.