5 Things You Need to Know About... Anna Price ('13) Architecture
From her great-grandfather helping put in place one of the first permanent parts of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, to cheering from the student section as an undergraduate, to planning and designing the newest addition to Oklahoma’s Palace on the Prairie, Anna Price (’13) has a long history with one of college football’s greatest venues. Oh, and she confirms Bob Stoops is pretty cool to work with.
You have deep OU roots. Your father and grandfather earned their medical degrees from OU. Your great-grandfather was one of the original contractors on the project that put in place the first permanent structures of what is now Gaylord Family –Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. When you were chosen as one of three architects from your firm, Populous, to design the plans for the stadium expansion and bowl project how emotional was that for you?
It was very emotional and exciting. Being so recently graduated from OU (I had only been working 6 months) I could think of no better project to be my first big project than the OU Stadium. While our original team was only 3, our numbers grew as the project grew and it was so wonderful to get new thoughts and ideas into our group. I was the only alum on our team however, so I was definitely more emotionally attached to the tasks we were working on, even the smaller, mundane details. I spent 5 years cheering in the student section and had those family ties, so being able to put my mark on the building was incredibly moving for me.
Among the special skills you brought to the stadium project were an expertise in “inside the bowl” work; designing the shape, seats, suites, etc. Such detailed work as conceiving seating and suites touches fans directly. Did you feel a different kind of pressure to “get it right” because it was your alma mater?
I did feel a pressure to get it right. I knew these decisions were going to impact the experience of fans for the next 25-50 years. I wanted to help OU achieve the best fan experience possible, and a huge portion of that is the actual viewing of the game and how fans experience it from their seat. No one wants to go to a football game and not be able to see properly.
You met Bob Stoops during the project. First, what was that experience like? Second, did you draw up any plays or defensive schemes you felt he might incorporate this season?
I met Coach Stoops fairly early in the process of designing the football spaces, and it was very exciting. What was most thrilling for me was that six months prior I had been a student in the stands cheering for Coach Stoops and the team, and now I was sitting in meetings with him. He was so nice and friendly, and I enjoyed getting to work with him. Unfortunately he didn’t seem too keen on taking any of my advice on plays or defensive schemes, no matter how well thought out they were (and believe me, I thought them out). But I figured, he is Bob Stoops after all, and I bet he’s got it all under control.
What was it like the first time you walked into the construction area and saw concrete taking your plans from paper to reality?
It was pretty surreal. After staring at something on paper for so long, actually seeing it in person is exhilarating. The project seemed to get bigger and bigger every time I saw it, and it was like all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place.
One of history’s greatest monuments is a coliseum; the one in Rome, not Los Angeles. Do you find yourself thinking about the permanency of what you’ve helped create?
Absolutely. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to think about OU fans 50 years from now attending a game and sitting in the South End Zone that I helped create. Especially with my family history there, I really enjoy the thought of my work enduring through future generations of football seasons. I can go over to the west side and stand on concrete that was poured in 1929 by my great-grandfather, and hopefully someday my family members will be able to go stand on the south side and think of my contributions to the stadium.