The old Sacramento Powerhouse, built in 1912, was an iconic property along the Sacramento River. Despite various plans over the years to repurpose the space, it lay functionally fallow since the 1950s. A comprehensive plan was eventually created for the adaptive reuse of the historic electrical power station to bring it back to life as a science museum, renamed the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC). That transformation was not an easy one. After years of studies, stalled efforts and fundraising, the project finally moved ahead only to run into some major demolition and reconstruction issues.
W.C. Maloney (WCM) was brought in by general contractor Otto Construction to lead a selective demolition of the historic building. Due to the historic nature of the powerhouse, the plans were to keep parts of the building intact while removing everything else that was structurally unsafe. WCM was responsible for the removal of the roof, demo of the mezzanine and concrete blocks around the old power source, removal of the foundation, and breaking down the front wall while preserving the overall shell.
The biggest challenge came in the removal of the roof and the concrete and steel beams. The dilapidated nature of the roof did not allow for any weight to be put on it.
As the senior project manager at Otto Construction put it, “There was nothing easy about the project. Everything seemed to be a challenge.” Fortunately, WCM was up for the task.
WCM’s team and in-house engineer implemented a solution whereby a Brokk electric excavator was hung from a platform on a crane and operated by remote control from the operator a safe distance away. Since the roof was not safe to walk on, the remote-controlled Brokk demolition robot was an innovative workaround that allowed the MOSAC repurposing project to succeed.
The roof and front wall were demolished using the Brokk, not only ensuring the safety of all personnel on the site and allowing the project to proceed, but also creating efficiencies that enabled a reduction in the time it took to demo. The amazing creativity and ingenuity surrounding this demo would make the Museum of Science and Curiosity proud.
Further assisting in the Sacramento Powerhouse’s adaptive reuse, and working alongside its selective demolition, fellow Precizion company PALS was brought in to do the lead abatement of the paint on some of the trusses and other structures inside the building.