Kansas State University graduate is the architect behind the Texas Bowl stadiums
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016
NRG Stadium will host the Kansas State University football team during the 2016 Texas Bowl on Dec. 28. Bruce Beahm, a Kansas State University 1982 graduate in architecture and principal and senior architect for Populous, was project architect on the team that designed the stadium. (Photo credit: Agustin De Los Dolores) | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — When the Wildcat fans cheer on the football team at NRG Stadium on Dec. 28, they also may want to thank Kansas State University alumnus Bruce Beahm for making it possible.
Beahm, a 1982 graduate in architecture, is a principal and senior architect for Populous and was project architect on the team that designed NRG Stadium, where the Kansas State University Wildcats will play in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. He also was the project manager for BBVA Compass Stadium, which will host the Texas Bowl pep rally for Kansas State University fans on Dec. 27.
"I feel like my career has come full circle," Beahm said. "It's especially fun to see K-State play in a stadium Populous has designed and to top it off with the pep rally at BBVA Compass Stadium. K-State is where I developed my career interest in architecture and it's an honor to know that two of my projects with Populous are now benefiting the university, its football team and its fans. I am proud to have that connection with my alma mater."
For nearly 30 years, Beahm has worked at Populous, a global architecture firm that specializes in arenas, sports facilities, convention centers and airports and has U.S. headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Beahm has worked on a variety of commercial projects and sports facilities, including Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs, Guaranteed Rate Field for the Chicago White Sox and AT&T Park for the San Francisco Giants. He is currently project manager on Orlando City Stadium, a soccer stadium for the Orlando City Lions, which will open in March 2017.
Beahm and the Populous team began work on NRG Stadium – then Reliant Stadium – in 1998 as a stadium for the Houston Texans. Beahm was involved in the entire project – from the early days of design to the finish of construction in 2002. Populous was the design architect for the project and collaborated with several Houston firms.
Beahm was especially proud of the stadium's roof, which was the first retractable roof in the NFL. The stadium seats more than 70,000 people and will host 2017 Super Bowl.
"When the project was finished and the doors opened, I loved seeing people's reaction when they went through the doors," Beahm said. "It is so rewarding to get to see people enjoy what you have been working on for years and years."
For the BBVA Compass Stadium — home to the Houston Dynamo, a Major League Soccer club — Beahm and the Populous team were the architect of record on the project. The stadium was completed in 2012 and has since spurred improvements to the surrounding area, Beahm said.
"The area is really reacting to the development of the stadium," Beahm said. "There is new construction now and it has become an extension of the downtown area."
Beahm credits his career success to the professors and staff at the university's College of Architecture, Planning & Design for being caring and professional. Faculty members led by example, he said, which encouraged students like him to jump out of their comfort zones and pursue their career and academic goals.
"Kansas State University's architecture program is a top program in the country and really prepares students for the real world," Beahm said. "It's such a well-rounded program and the professors give you a well-rounded experience. Once you get in the real world, that really helps."
Beahm and his family are K-Staters through and through. Bruce met his wife, Joan, at Kansas State University. Joan Beahm is a 1983 graduate in journalism and mass communications, and their son, Alex, is a 2015 graduate in computer science. Their son, Kevin, is a freshman in electrical engineering. The Beahm family lives in Overland Park. While the family will not be attending the Houston Bowl in person, they will cheer the Wildcats from afar.
The university's College of Architecture, Planning & Design, which also is known as APDesign, is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, environmental design college with accredited professional programs in architecture, interior architecture and product design, landscape architecture, and regional and community planning. DesignIntelligence magazine recently recognized the college with several national and regional rankings, including the nation's No. 5 graduate program in landscape architecture, No. 7 graduate program in interior architecture and No. 18 graduate program in architecture.