Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sacramento Museum of Art, Science, and Human Perception

I stumbled onto this and thought I would put it out here for people to see.

Sacramento needs more big time museums and exploratoriums, and I think the old PG&E is a perfect location for one. Close to Old Sac and downtown, right on the river, next to the water intake and accompanying water feature, and right by new park area.

As I commented a while ago, I think old buildings like these make for great public and civic spaces. I really like the Riverfront Pavillion, cafe and store in the site plan. It also looks like part of the site will be reserved for a future project, possibly for a residential tower in the future, but will be used for parking in the meantime.

I remember that when the city was requesting proposals for the site a while ago, Mike Heller proposed turning the building into a museum that would hold the collection of the Wayne Thiebaud family, which I thought was a nice idea at the time, and still think something along those lines would be a great addition to the city.

I know Sacramento has many other smaller history places like The California History, Womens, Military, Wells Fargo, Discovery, Towe, Aviation and others I am sure I'm forgeting, but The Crocker and The Railroad Museum are places that I think are on another level from the other places mentioned, and I'd like to see more at this level.

The Crocker is about to go through a huge expansion that has taken a lot of years to fund and materialize. I have to imagine something like this would cost a ton of money and a lot of time to put together as well.

Philanthropy has been increasing at a brisk pace over the last few years in Sacramento, lets see how that trend possibly helps this.

The Sacramento Children's Museum seemed to have some momentum going a short time ago, but nothing new has come out recently other than apparent frustrations by the the organizers.


Sacramento Museum of Art, Science, and Human Perception (SMASHp)

Modeled on San Francisco’s highly respected and hugely popular Exploratorium. SMASHp will be a publicly-owned science museum located in the old PG&E Building on the Sacramento River. SMASHp may be inspired by the Explortorium but it's own exhibits will be modeled on science museums from around the world. And many of the exhibits will be created by visual and performing artists as well as scientists and educators thus creating an unique environment that will stimulate the senses and appeal to people who are not normally turn-on by science.

The former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. building, next to the new Jibboom Street Park, is currently vacant and the city is looking for someone to rehabilitate of the historic building for commercial and/or community use. We propose transforming it into a unique 21st-century science museum. The building’s Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation provides a museum-like quality and in some ways recalls the Palace of Fine Art Building in San Francisco which houses the Exploratorium.

The historic building made of reinforced concrete has a large open interior space that is ideal for a wide variety of scientific exhibits. Natural light will filter through skylights and windows to illuminate the interior during the day and the building will be dramatically lit at night.

The museum's entrance will be through the neo-classical portal on the west side (riverfront) of the PG&E building. The western orientation will increase activity along riverfront and as the Railyards Project Area is developed the wisdom of this orientation will be further reinforced.

A small but architecturally striking pavilion will be constructed northwest of the museum's entrance and will house the museum’s store and cafĂ© which will have outside terraced where visitors will be able to dine alfresco while overlooking the Sacramento River.

Several specially landscaped spaces throughout the site will include ‘smart art’ pieces.

The area north of the museum will be reserved for a future museum tower –a mix-use residential high-rise, however, until that time the site will be used for museum parking.

The Sacramento Museum of Art, Science and Human Perception is destined to be the one of Sacramento’s most popular tourist destinations- attracting many people to the area each year and energizing the existing Sacramento River Parkway trail that connects Old Sacramento to Discovery Park and helping to make the Sacramento Riverfront truly world-class.

How will SMASHp be financed?
Corporate Donors
Public Utility
City and County of Sacramento
University of California
State and Federal


Carl said...

I think the science museum is a great idea, though the building seems like it might be small for this purpose. I wonder if it's tall enough to accommodate a second floor?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I'm pretty sure the building has mulitple floors right now, a how tall each of the floors are, I'm not sure.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Actually, I take that back.. Give it was a power plant, it might only be one floor right now.

It does seem tall enough to accommodate 2 floors though

wburg said...

2 floors easily, probably more. The building was at one point proposed as a possible site for the Railroad Technology Museum, before UP bought Southern Pacific and closed the Shops, and the joke became that the only way to fit locomotives in the building would be to literally turn them sideways--so I'd guess that the building is at least 80 feet tall. That's enough room for 3-4 stories of high-ceiling museum.

It's an interesting idea, but the name is downright dreadful. I can already hear the "Smash Pee" jokes.

Zwahlen Images said...

The more I think about it, the more I think the nick-name SMASH-pee sucks. The full title name sounds great and the idea behind of this museum is what this city needs... I just don't get this forced abbreviation. I hope the museum happens, if not there, somewhere else.

wburg said...

I just hope they find a place for the Towe in all that's an absolute local treasure that already has a track record as a regional museum that could use more exposure. The PG&E building wouldn't be quite big enough, but the more museums the better...I still think that the railyards would be a great place for a college campus, in conjunction with a cluster of museums. Either a satellite campus (expand the USC satellite school, or a CSUS or UCD extension) or it's about time that we got a UC here in town--maybe with a more poli/econ focus than UCD's medical/bio sciences focus. The combination of a college campus with multiple museums within walking/trolley ride distance would be killer...and hey, maybe the college could have an arena that the Kings could use sometimes.

Kim said...

I love that "little" building, and the site by the river is charming. A science/art connection would be cool, I already have an idea that I would love to do with a science guy/gal! I already walk my dog over that way every week... add a stop for coffee and the afternoon would be complete.

towerdistrict said...

the Towe museum won't be going anywhere. In fact, when the Docks project gets going, they'll find themselves in a great location. I met a representative of the museum at the last Docks presentation, and their quite interested in how they will fit in there.

About this SMASHp idea... anyone can think of cool ways to use that location and that building. I don't mean to disregard the thought put into this, but how far will "they" run with it?

Anonymous said...

The PG&E station was designed by famous SF architect Willis Polk. He had supervision of the architectural schema for the Pan-Pacific Exposition in 1915 in San Francisco, and supervised Bernard Maybeck's design of the Palace of Fine Arts, where the Exploratorium is housed. So the echoes between the two buildings are not accidental.