SMUD Headquarters Rehabilitation

Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Sacramento, California

After 60 years of continuous use, an extensive rehabilitation of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Headquarters is finally complete. Renovation of this landmark mid-century modern design has brought this iconic 146,000 SF building into the 21st Century while artfully addressing the concerns of the preservation community.

In 1958 we designed this building for a young utility and were commissioned in 2014 to renovate the entire facility inside and out. A carefully considered addition allows for greatly increased daylighting and access to views. A central enclosed stair and mechanical shaft was replaced with a large open stair for enhanced vertical circulation and transparency between wings. Open offices were completely updated to include different types of conferencing, meeting and break areas with modern furniture and finishes. Office areas were completely modernized to address the needs of SMUD’s multi-generational workforce while incorporating the original concept of an over-arching five-foot grid.

Also included in this rehabilitation were site and landscape improvements designed to historically maintain significant features of the 13-acre site and artist Wayne Thiebaud’s mosaic tile mural “Water City,” was carefully cleaned and preserved.

The SMUD Headquarters is on the National Register of Historic Places and the rehabilitation was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. More photos (including historic) can be seen here.

In January 2020, the project was featured in Metropolis Magazine online: A Modernist Office in Sacramento Shines Again. The building’s mural restoration was featured in the Summer 2020 issue of Preservation Magazine, the publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.