Career Projects for David Sassano

The following projects were completed prior to joining Herring & Trowbridge.

Industrial / Commercial

The Huron Building at Portage Prairie
Role: Sole Practitioner

The first building to be completed in the 400 acre Portage Prairie Development in South Bend, IN, the Huron sets the standard for modern design inspired by the open prairie site. The 150,000 square foot flex building is based on the prototypical tilt-up concrete box, but with a simplicity and elegance that makes the project part building, part sculpture. The curving, projecting, and cantilevered panels provide an ever changing array of light, shadow and reflection, giving this utilitarian building more esthetic appeal than one might expect from a speculative project.

The inspiration for the design of the Huron building is in part based on the compositional beauty of the barn and farmhouse against the horizon, and in part on the Prairie style idea of incorporating natural forms directly into the construction of the building. Specifically, the curved concrete panels reflect the natural forms of the prairie grass, but they go well beyond just ornamentation, as is typical of Prairie Style architecture, and actually become the main 3-dimensional element of the buildings profile. Also, just as the typical farm is made up of juxtaposed vertical and horizontal forms, including the barn, the farmhouse, the silos and a tree or two, the Huron juxtaposes horizontal and vertical elements including canopies, panels, glass, and the vertical curves, to make a composition of light, shadow, reflection and profile along its 700 feet of length. The white color is also both a reflection of typical white barns and farmhouses, as well as the best color for enhancing light, shadow and profile.

build project

Douglas Road Development
Role: Sole Practitioner

30,000 s.f.
South Bend,IN

The project was a standard strip mall development in plan, however, the owner desired a facade that appeared to be visually dynamic, as if constantly moving.

road development


Urban Planning

Solid Rock Community Church
Role: Sole Practitioner
10,000 s.f.
Rochester Indiana

This project involved development of a proposal for a growing congregation for the purpose of fundraising and community building. The design considers the functional needs of the service, as well as the requirement that much of the construction can be performed by members of the church.

church design

Howard Park Master Plan
Role: Sole Practitioner

Neighborhood revitalization proposal
South Bend, IN
Client: Howard Park Neighborhood Association

A proposal for the revitalization of a downtown neighborhood along the Saint Joseph River. The site has been occupied by industrial buildings and a scattering of homes. Recently, several of the industrial buildings were vacated, including the City’s public transit bus facilities. Being adjacent to the River, the land is prime for re-development. The Howard Park Neighborhood Association retained David Sassano to prepare a counter proposal to the City’s initial redevelopment plan. The proposal calls for a new housing development modeled after the adjacent Sunnymede neighborhood; one of the cities most successful neighborhoods. The City eventually scrapped it’s original plan and developed a new plan very similar in scope to the one presented here.

city planning


Office Interior

The Isaacson Addition
Role: Sole Practitioner
South Bend, IN
completed: 2004

The Isaacsons lived in a typical 5000 s.f home on a large beautiful lot in the suburbs. They had plenty of space. The room they spent most of there time in, however, was big and dull. It had very expensive cabinets, but no sense of warmth, no connection to to the large yard, no space for gathering. The kids played in the bonus room ,which was accessed via the mudroom, In the end, the kitchen wall was opened completely to the new deck, the wall and ceiling to the bonus room were removed so the kids could see mom in the kitchen, and a bridge connection was made through the unused attic space connecting the play room to the rest of the second story. The kitchen and play room were now not only the center of the house, but the show piece.

home design

People Link Corporate Office
Role: Sole Practitioner
10,000 s.f.
South Bend, Indiana

This project involved the gut renovation of approximately 10,000 s.f. of office space for People Link’s Corporate offides. People Link is a staffing resource company serving mostly industrial businesses. Highlights of the design are the use of the puzzle-piece logo for the skylight and custom hardware, and the seamless front reception desk.

corp office design


The Gillespie Conference and Special Events Center
Role: Sole Practitioner
17,000 s.f.
South Bend, IN
Client: Holladay Development
completed: February 2008

The Gillespie occupies a site on the edge of the Campus of Saint Mary’s College. It is directly adjacent to two hotels and the Indiana Toll Road ramp.  The undulating glass wall and roof soffit offers an array of faceted shadows and reflections. In the evening, the wall of the lobby glows.  Upon entering, the ample lobby/ pre-function space lead to an 8,000 square foot space that can be fully opened or divided into a wide array of combinations for smaller meetings. The ceiling of this space is designed to accommodate the practical functions of dividing the space, acoustic separation, sound control and technology, while also providing for an elegant ballroom setting. From the ballroom, one looks to the North to an enclosed garden.

campus design

The Vine Restaurant
Role: Sole Practitioner

The Vine Restaurant 3500 s.f. South Bend, IN completed: 2005 The Vine Restaurant occupies the ground floor of the Palais Royale Ballroom. The Palais was built in 1926, and was recently restored to its original 1920’s eclectic splendor. The challenge for the Vine was to design a space that was modern and chic on a relatively tight budget, while also making it worthy of its location below the Palais. Taking a que from the ornate ceiling of the Palais, the main design feature of the Vine is it’s ceiling. The ceiling is a play of shapes, colors, and light. The middle portion over the main dining room actually changes color. The hanging lights were custom designed by Mr. Sassano, and made by a local lamp shop. To offset the long and narrow space, a curved glass and wood wall separates the bar area, and mimics the rounded corner of the building.

restaurant design


1925 South Michigan Avenue
Role: Sole Practitioner
3-Story, 24,000 s.f. built in 1911
Chicago, IL
Client: The Paul Herman LLC
Project is ongoing

1925 South Michigan Ave was purchased in 2007. Part of the building would be a speculative rental property and part would serve as the private dwelling unit of the owner. The project is a local landmark building in the City’s Historic Motor Row District. The City is also filing to have the building designated as a national landmark. It was designed by Christian Eckstorm as the BF Goodrich Tire showroom. The facade is terra cotta, and the structure is a combination of cast iron, steel and heavy timber.

The first floor and rear half of the second and third floor were to be renovated into retail space. The front portion of the second and third floor were to be the owners private dwelling. The design of this dwelling involved the removal of floor area, the inclusion of a large skylight and wall opening, and all new services, finishes, and fixtures.
The project is currently considering a single tenant user.

city building

The Palais Royale Ballroom
Role: Sole Practitioner
30,000 s.f.
South Bend, IN
completed: 2002

The Palais Royale Ballroom was built in 1926 directly adjacent to the Palais Theater. (Now the Moris Performing Arts Center.) David Sassano was the local architect working in association with Detroit based Kessler, Francis, Cardozza. The project was for the complete restoration and renovation of the building. This involved restoring the severely damaged 8000 s.f. ballroom and lobby, replacing the windows, repairing the terra cotta brick and panel exterior, new restrooms ,kitchen and offices, capturing new space in the basement, and all new services.
Mr. Sassano worked closely with City, The State Historical Architect, the building department, as well as  Casteel Construction, Evergreen Studios, and other specialty contractors to maximize the efforts of all involved in returning this landmark building to its glory.

Prior Work

Lake Michigan College at Bertrand Crossing
Role: Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ

Lake Michigan College at Bertrand Crossing Niles, MI DLZ 1996-1997 Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ. A new 30,000 s.f. remote campus building for Lake Michigan College. Building features a 7,000 s.f. CNC lab, two science labs, a computer lab, and classrooms. The building is constructed of load bearing exterior brick masonry. It was constructed in 1997 for approximately $75/sf. The project received an Honorable Mention Award from AS&U magazine.

college design

LaPorte Police Station
Role: Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ

LaPorte City Police Station LaPorte, IN DLZ 1995 Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ. A gut renovation of a 1960’s 2-story office building, and addition, for the LaPorte City Police station. The building included a new facade, a new stair tower, and a new sally port.

police station design

North Well Field Water Treatment Facility
Role: Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ
Mishawaka, IN
DLZ in Association with Malcolm-Pirnie

Project Architect and Project Manager while employed by DLZ.
A new 20,000 s.f. water treatment and pumping facility. The building is designed to allow for school tours. The floor plan allows for a single point group viewing station, and architectural expression of the functions of the plant both inside and out.

water facility

Pace Gallery
Role: Project Manager employed by Acheson Thornton Doyle Architects
Soho, NY
Acheson, Thornton Doyle Architects PC

Art Gallery in early 19th century cast iron building.

Hostos Community College
Role: Intern Architect employed by Hirsch/Danois Partnership
South Bronx, NY
Voorsanger & Mills in association with HirschDanois

college planning

Stuyvesant High School
Role: Project Team Architect employed by Cooper Robertson and Partners
Battery Park City, NY
Cooper Robertson and Partners in association with Gruzen Samton Stienglass