Alexander G. Sasonoff

Sasonoff, Alexander G.

(1930 – )

The son of Russian immigrants, Alexander G. Sasonoff was born on July 18, 1930 in Seattle and raised in White Center. He graduated from West Seattle High School and upon graduation enlisted in the Army where he quickly rose to the position of Staff Sergeant in the Communications Center for the Far East Command (1948-52). After an honorable discharge, Sasonoff took on the unusual job of steeplejack (a craftsman who scales buildings, chimneys and church steeples to carry out repairs or maintenance). He then spent a few seasons with a crew of a local fishing vessel, tolling the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca before attending the University of Washington. He graduated there with a BA in Architecture in 1958.

After graduation, Sasonoff formed a partnership with architect Richard Bissell. Together the firm of Bissell & Sasonoff made a quick impact on the built environment. Their Brugess Wright House on Mercer Island (1961) was featured in the Seattle Times Home-of-the-Month program. The house had an unusual folded plate roof on an L-shaped house connected by an octagonal living room.

They also provided a Parade of Homes House as entry for the National Concrete Masonry Association (the Horizon House) with builder Walter Peterson in Marine Hills near Federal Way (1961); and another design was featured as a Seattle Times Home-of-the-Week (426 SW 175th Place, 1961) in Normandy Park. Other notable projects included the Northwest Archery Co. Building (1961); Olympic View Swim Club (1961) in Normandy Park; and the entrance sign to the Mar Cheri (1966) neighborhood.

Despite the success of the partnership, by the fall of 1964 Sasonoff and Bissell had parted ways and Sasonoff took on a new partner, Bruce W. Mecklenberg. Among their first projects together was a professional office building for Don Watson Law Offices (1964) in Burien. They also designed the Burien Elks Lodge (1964), the Seahurst Professional Center (1966) in Burien, a multi-purpose building that housed a dentist and doctor offices, as well as the new firm’s own office. Other projects included the Royal Arts Apartments (1966); the Seattle County Day School (1968); the La Bella Vista Apartments (1969); Lakeside Apartments (1969) in Kirkland; the Mar-vue Building (1969) in Des Moines; the Laurentian Winter Club (1970) in Burien; and the Dr. Richard Crow Medical Building (1973) in Burien.

Sasonoff formed an important friendship with Seattle builders Ross Hebb and Dan Narodick and over the course of his career he provided several designs for homes in many of their developments scattered across the Puget Sound Region. Among the more notable designs was a plan for their 1967 Parade of Homes entry; a model home for the Maple Ridge neighborhood (1969); a model home in the Riverside community near Auburn (1969); and a design for their 1969 Parade of Homes entry in the Southmoor development in Kent.

By the mid 1970s, Sasonoff and Mecklenberg had parted ways; each continuing an independent practice. Sasonoff projects for the Colonial II Women’s Appeal Center near Southcenter Mall (1978) won a design excellence award from the Masonry Institute of Washington. Other projects include Foster’s Unusual Furniture Store (1978) in Tukwila and the Forest Inn (1981) near North Bend.

Upon retirement in the mid 1980s, Sasonoff became an accomplished artist and author. Over the course of his career he has been active in a variety of civic organizations including the Highline Historical Society, the Highline Community Hospital Foundation and the White-Center/Burien Rotary Club, serving as President. He also spent 17 years serving as a local Fire Commissioner.

Sasonoff currently resides in Burien.

– Michael C Houser

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