Savage & Cooke Distillery, Mare Island

Category: Work
Vallejo, CA

Building 45 is a historic naval structure that has been renovated and retrofitted to house a whiskey barrel storage facility with two tasting rooms. It was originally built in 1864 as a School for Apprentices on Mare Island in Vallejo, California when the Navy was establishing its first west coast base.

As part of the renovation for the new use of the structure, a full seismic retrofit was done utilizing the California Historic Building Code. The main structure is an existing two-story unreinforced brick bearing wall building with a wood roof and second floor supported by a grid of interior wood posts. New steel moment frames and braced frames serve as the lateral force-resisting system of the structure as well as a secondary gravity system along the perimeter of the building.

Steel was chosen as the least invasive material to strengthen the structure instead of additional concrete or masonry walls which would have obstructed more of the existing materials. New wood framing for the project was sourced from other parts of the project where wood was removed; nothing was thrown away. The existing wood girders at the second floor were strengthened with steel channels to support the added weight of the whiskey barrels. The design team used creative methods to preserve the historic structure, working with the city to meet required fire ratings and proof-loading the existing wood framing to determine its capacity for the new whiskey barrel loads. This proof loading verification allowed the existing girders to be strengthened on one side only instead of both sides, leaving more of the existing wood exposed.

In the finished building, the whiskey barrels fill the floor space and help celebrate the surrounding structure, providing a revitalized space for events and tasting for many years to come.

Check out our solution here:

Size 15,300 sf
Completed 2018
Construction Cost $4.5M
Architect RIM Architects
Contractor Terra Nova Industries
Owner Savage & Cooke
Award of Merit – Renovation/Restoration

ENR (Engineering News-Record) 2019

Design Award – Durable & Adaptable Wood Structures

WoodWorks, 2019