Half a century after it was built, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Headquarters was in need of updates to meet fire and safety codes, to replace outdated and hazardous utilities, and to upgrade site security measures. Complicating efforts, in 2010 the site and buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places as prime examples of Mid-Century Modern Design.


In order to maintain its listing on the National Registry, all improvements to the 13 acre site were required to maintain the site’s historic character. In the spirit of preservation, it was also determined that, along with building upgrades led by Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, the project would pursue LEED Gold certification.

In addition to necessary infrastructure upgrades, CALA worked with the District to improve campus connectivity, incorporate employee outdoor work spaces and public areas, and to selectively update landscape areas with lower water-use plant material and efficient irrigation. Through careful site planning and materials selection, the site improvements contribute towards several LEED credits, including Rainwater Management, Outdoor Water use Reduction, Heat Island Reduction and promotion of Alternative Transportation including bicycle, public transportation and electric vehicles.


CALA was the lead design consultant, tasked with coordinating improvements from conceptual design through construction that preserved the character of the historic site, and contributed site credits towards LEED Gold certification. In addition, CALA was able to provide coordinated arborist services early in the design, which enabled the team to plan for and maximize the preservation of existing, mature trees through project completion.

    Historic SMUD HQ Renovation
    Sacramento, CA
    LEED (in progress)
    Arborist Services
    Conceptual Design
    Design Development
    Visual Simulation
    Construction Documentation
    Bidding Assistance
    Construction Support
    ASLA Sierra Chapter Top Honor Award
    CA Preservation Historic Rehabilitation Award
    DocomomoUS Special Citation Award (for restoration of the Wayne Thiebaud "Water City" mural)
    Sacramento Business Journal's Best Real Estate Projects of the Year

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