Iowa native describes what it takes to design a Super Bowl stadium

AMES, Iowa — When Mark Williams, a Marshalltown native and Iowa State graduate, grabs a Super Bowl seat on Sunday, he’s already won, regardless of whether the Rams or Bengals win. .

Williams and Texas-based architecture firm HKS began meeting with Rams owner Stan Kroenke while the team was still in St. Louis. When the franchise moved to Los Angeles, the project continued. After two years of design and three years of construction, SoFi Stadium opened in 2020.

“It’s just a big event. To be able to work on buildings like this and have a lot of people around me from HKS and our consultants working on these things for years and then bringing them to life with people inside, Williams said. . “On weekends like this, it really is a global stage, the eyes of the world will be on this building.”

Williams said it took time to put together this massive project.

“We spent over two years designing SoFi Stadium and really the masterplan and the 298-acre campus, and then on top of that we’re overseeing the design during the construction process,” said WIlliams. “The first new NFL stadium was Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, then we did AT&T Stadium for the Dallas Cowboys, then we did US Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, and now we have SoFi Stadium. for the LA Chargers and LA Rams. ”

Williams said they hope to resume a new project as soon as teams consider building new stadiums. Williams is enjoying this Super Bowl weekend.

“Last night I went to the NFL Honors show which is a great show…I’m going to go to the commissioner’s party tonight,” Williams said. “Finally, I’m going to sit in the building and relax and watch the football game.”

Williams said he and several other Iowa State graduates worked on the design team for SoFi Stadium.

“We had a very neat Cyclone family working on SoFi Stadium,” Williams said. “There were five or six of us, all Cyclone graduates, who were very intimate in designing the project.”

“What I’m going to tell you is what I hear over and over again from employers around the world is that College of Design students have the right balance of theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge,” said Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design at Iowa State University. “And that’s why they are ready to play from day one.”

Rico-Gutierrez added that they learned that five other Iowa State graduates were employed by a contracting company that worked on the roof of SoFi Stadium.

As a kid growing up in Marshalltown, Williams never entertained the idea that he might be involved in the Super Bowl.

“It was a combination of love for architecture and love for sports, but I never imagined that I would be working on the Super Bowl facilities,” Williams said.

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