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Schafer Gear Works Main Plant

South Bend, Indiana

Panzica had completed an award-winning expansion project at Schafer Gear Works Plant #1, just as Schafer was entering an extraordinary period of business growth and expansion. After helping the client systematically assess multiple addition or new construction alternatives, Panzica was engaged to locate, assess, negotiate and represent Schafer in acquiring a new 15-acre site at South Bend’s Blackthorn Corporate Park.

The new precast concrete and steel plant is a world-glass gear production facility serving a global market. Panzica collaborated with with Schafer management in the operation’s process planning, providing design input that helped improve production flow while master-planning the campus for future growth and expansion. The use of precast-presetressed concrete enabled construction to continue on schedule during an unusually harsh Indiana winter.

Many sustainable design features are incorporated such as ample daylighting of both the office and manufacturing spaces, energy-efficient indirect fluorescent ceiling fixtures, a building energy management system and the extensive use of recycled materials.

Signature elements of the architecture include a freestanding curved glass facade slicing into the main mass and a gear-shaped concrete planter−scaled from an actual production gear design−visible from a conference room and from the second-floor president’s office. Also prominent on the facade is a bold two-story pier to which is affixed a unique stainless steel “legacy” sign− purported to have been designed by the internationally acclaimed industrial designer Raymond Loewy−which was lovingly preserved from Schafer’s original plant location.

Delivery Method:  Design-Build

Building Area: 115,000 sq. ft.

Structure Type:  Precast Concrete / Conventional Steel / Masonry

Services Provided

  • Development Assistance
  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Interior Design