Repairing Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building

Repairing Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building

Repairing Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building

  • Historic building constructed in 1928
  • Terra cotta and marble degradation
  • Replacement of main cornice units and wall units
  • Granite mortar joints repointed and glaze spall repair
State of California Department of General Services
Sacramento, CA
Project Team
    Specialty Contractor
  • Arntz Builders, Inc.
    General Contractor

The Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building is located in downtown Sacramento across from the State Capitol building. Built in 1928, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Library and Courts Building is an important enhancement to the City of Sacramento’s Capitol Mall. In 2010, the State of California Department of General Services undertook a renovation to improve security accessibility and fire and life safety systems and correct mechanical, electrical, and plumbing deficiencies.

Building envelope repairs were also a part of the scope and included repair of roof and shell damage, abatement of hazardous materials, and restoration of historic features such as ceilings, lights, elevators, and public art. The Department of General Services wanted to restore and extend the life of these features for another 50 years.

Based upon experience with historic preservation projects and extensive expertise in building envelope services, PULLMAN was selected to subcontract with General Contractor Arntz Builders, Inc. to work on the renovation. PULLMAN was also tasked with repurposing light wells in order to get more natural light into the interior.

Restoring a Landmark

The lower 20 feet of this neo-classical government building was clad in granite; the remainder of the structure was clad in terra cotta. The terra cotta and the marble accents on the building shell were degrading.

To begin the repairs, PULLMAN removed and replaced a portion of the terra cotta main cornice units and wall units. Terra cotta window headers were replaced on the 2nd and 5th floors and existing terra cotta and granite mortar joints were repointed. PULLMAN also repaired terra cotta and glaze spalls.

A tailored mix of cleaning methods was used to refresh the building exterior without risking damage to historic materials. The building exterior and marble statues were steam cleaned. Steam was chosen as the main cleaning method because it breaks down oily residues which accumulate on a building as a result of pollution. Chemical cleaners were used strategically on areas with heavy stains or biological growth.

A total of 2,000-square-feet of brick in the building’s light wells were replaced. The remaining brick was repaired and repointed.

Renovation Brings Court Back to Order

PULLMAN and the structural engineer encountered a challenge when it discovered that the terra cotta quantities originally estimated before the job began were insufficient. The team put in additional hours in order to accommodate the lead times of the materials manufacturer. This effort ensured the deadline was met – with no rework or other issues with the finished building.

The completed historic renovation received ENR Award of Merit recognition. The building will continue to serve the public for years to come with its historic elements preserved.