CB2 Builders Completes Tenant Improvements And Base Building Refinements At The Exploratorium’s New San Francisco Home

San Francisco, CA – CB2 Builders, a San Francisco-based premier general contractor and construction management firm, has successfully completed the complex, large-scale tenant improvement build-out at the new Exploratorium located at Pier 15, along San Francisco’s thriving Embarcadero. The interactive science and art museum tripled in size when it relocated from its home of 40 years—a shrouded setting at the city’s Palace of Fine Arts—to the open, highly visible 330,000-square-foot waterfront campus.

CB2 was responsible for tenant improvement work and refining the base building to suit the specific needs of the Exploratorium’s exhibit build-out and daily operations. Services provided included architectural, structural, and MEP engineering; construction associated with the build-out of exhibit structures, pavilions, and the Exploratorium’s in-house fabrication shops; electrical, tel/data and lighting work; and site coordination for construction and vendor personnel. All of the work was completed on time and on budget for the museum’s grand opening on April 17.

“With its high-profile location, landmark status, numerous public and private stakeholders and 600 intricate art and science exhibits, the Exploratorium was an extremely challenging project and, likely, the most unusual of the many construction projects underway on the rapidly evolving Embarcadero,” said CB2 Project Manager Tony Campagna. “In taking on this very dynamic assignment, we understood that we needed to be flexible and adjust our priorities on a daily basis, otherwise procedures would get in the way of progress.”

Campagna’s team included Nick LaFollette, Project Engineer; Kent Phelps, Superintendent; and Ernesto Castillo, Assistant Superintendent.

“Crucially, the CB2 team understood the Exploratorium as a client—a creative entity with a non-linear way of thinking. Amid the chaos, CB2 emerged as a leader in ensuring that all involved entities collaborated and the project moved forward,” said Exploratorium Project Director Kristina Hooper Woolsey. “They were masterful in their role, and like the museum itself, CB2’s approach was a mix of art and science—creative and flexible, yet disciplined and detail oriented,” she added.

Additional project challenges and accomplishments:

·         The design/build project relied on CB2’s close, working collaboration with the client and design team.

·         CB2 was responsible for coordinating approximately 24 entities including the Exploratorium and its work groups, i.e. exhibits, outdoor exhibits, shop, and bio-lab and many others; Port of San Francisco (permits and inspections); outside vendors associated with exhibits and other scopes of work, i.e. AV, telecom; structural engineer; and  base building contractor, to name a few.

·         Due to the unusual nature of the base building construction (a pier over water), work below-slab involved executing from a boat. With slab penetrations limited to two inches in depth, CB2 collaborated with the structural engineer to develop anchoring solutions to accommodate structures, equipment and exhibits within tight constraints.

·         Constructing the extraordinary “distorted room,” an entirely new, 30,000-pound structure built to the Exploratorium’s specifications. Designed to challenge the notion of perception, the room is neither square nor plumb and also has to be entirely mobile as it is used at corporate events and other gatherings.

“An atypical client, fluid scope of work, stringent code requirements and tight schedule made this a particularly demanding assignment, but also an exceptionally rewarding one,” added Campagna. “We had the pleasure of working with an outstanding group of intelligent, creative people that challenged us, and resulted in the creation of an extraordinary museum and campus.”

About CB2 Builders
Founded in 2005, CB2 Builders is a premier woman-owned commercial contracting and construction management services company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. CB2 specializes in tenant improvement, MEP infrastructure, building improvement and specialty projects. Visit www.cb2builders.com for more information.

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