Mastermind behind sleek Super Bowl stadium in LA got his start at Churchill High School

Lance Evans also helped design AT&T Stadium in Dallas

Principal architect Lance Evans poses for a picture at SoFi Stadium on September 04, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) (Harry how, 2020 Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Before the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles hosted the Rams and Bengals for Super Bowl 56, it was a design from the mind of a North East ISD graduate.

Lance Evans, the lead architect for the $5 billion stadium, graduated in 1999 from Churchill High School, where he first got his start in architecture.

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He went on the graduate from Texas Tech, then he joined the HKS architecture firm in Dallas and helped design the AT&T Stadium.

“It was just by chance that the firm I had decided to work at ... was going to design the future stadium of the Dallas Cowboys,” Evans said in an HKS article. “And that’s where the whole trajectory of my life changed.”

Now a principal and director of sports at HKS in Los Angeles, the Southern California venue is his biggest project yet.

And it is big — the league’s first indoor-outdoor stadium was built around a lake, has a two-sided oval video board and a translucent roof, and can seat up to 100,000 if needed.

“I love how the site, the district, Hollywood Park is centered around a public lake,” Evans told NEISD in a Facebook post. “It’s a 25-acre public parkland and lake that anchor the district and the stadium. I take pride in that the team really embraced and wanted to do something more than just put a stadium in a sea of parking. So I’m really proud of that.”

Are you watching the Rams take on the Bengals today? NEISD and Churchill graduate Lance Evans served as the lead...

Posted by North East Independent School District - NEISD on Sunday, February 13, 2022

He added that he wanted to keep sports fans connected to the landscape of Southern California.

The designers did that by adding natural topography of the area, like palm trees, inside the building.

“Our spirit is this beautiful panoramic of the city, but you’re also connected to the action, whether it be the playing surface or the infinity screen, the large video board-- you’re always connected into the action and you get a sense that you’re in a really unique place that can only be built in Inglewood and Southern California,” he said.

The exterior of SoFi Stadium is seen days before the Super Bowl NFL football game Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Evans and his wife and daughter live a few miles away from the stadium, so it was an obvious fit for him, he told HKS.

He added that the designers captured Rams owner and chairman E. Stanley Kroenke’s two necessities: to create an entertainment palace and capture the spirit of Southern California.

“Our design team took this to heart, and it led every decision on this building,” Evans said. “This was a chance to build an entertainment destination in the entertainment capital of the world. It was about authenticity and how you can capture the essence of a community in the ultimate fan experience.”

Evans was also the lead architect on the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home to the Vikings.

But his roots can be traced back to architecture class at Churchill High School.

“Churchill had an architectural studio,” said Evans. “So, that was my first inkling into the profession. If that was going to be a trajectory for me in high school, I was like, ‘Oh, goodness, this can be a career path and something I could parlay into a passion.’”

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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