Hewlett-Packard House & Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Oct. 1, 2008

Project Innovations 2008

One of Silicon Valley's famous landmarks, the Hewlett-Packard House & Garage was recently restored by Redwood City, CA-based Rudolph and Sletten Inc. Named a city landmark by the City of Palo Alto's Historic Resources Board in 1985, the garage was also deemed a historical landmark by the State of California in 1987, and dedicated as the Birthplace of Silicon Valley in 1989. Hewlett-Packard acquired the site in 2000 and renovated it to help preserve the legacy of the company's founders (the garage once served as a development workshop and manufacturing facility for Bill Hewlett and David Packard). In 2007, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Special Design Elements
All of the original framing and the 1-inch by 12-inch board and batten construction siding of the garage were restored, providing a state of arrested decay. Rudolph and Sletten Inc. took the existing boards and preserved and patched them. Original doors to the garage were restored as well. The home's exterior was restored to wood shakes and shingles, similar to materials used in the 1930s. The clinker-brick chimney was taken down, cataloged brick by brick, and meticulously reconstructed according to current codes. A new feature—an environmentally friendly permeable concrete driveway—was constructed to allow rainwater to flow through it, reducing the amount of runoff.

Design/Construction Challenges
The original footings in the garage had to be reconstructed to meet new seismic standards. To rebuild foundations in the house, Rudolph and Sletten Inc. raised the house 4 feet, then excavated and installed new footings and foundations. Rudolph and Sletten Inc. then set the house back on its foundation, anchoring it with new seismic technology. Also, exposed knob-and-tube wiring (a key feature of the garage, and crucial to historical accuracy) had to be preserved.

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