With its dominant cantilever roof supporting an academic bar and dining bar, this student-athlete facility by Substance Architecture adds a new, state-of-the-art facility to the Iowa State University campus

The Stark Performance Center Iowa by Substance Architecture for Iowa State University is a 110,000 square foot academic and training resource with a design focused on the needs of a range of student athletes.

The facility includes areas dedicated to improving performance – both on the field and in the classroom – by bringing together locker rooms, strength training, athletic training, academic and life skills support, and sports nutrition into a single state-of-the-art facility serving the football, soccer, University softball, golf and tennis teams.

The building expands the existing Bergstrom Football Training Facility – a 140,000 square foot complex built over the previous two decades – to create a single, 250,000 square foot training center.

Stark Performance Center Iowa was recently recognized with an honorable mention in the 2022 International Architecture Awards by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

In addition, the project enhances the gaming experience for fans in and around the stadium by creating a public plaza and integrating other site amenities and an interactive public artwork.

The building was designed as a simple, prefabricated “box” connected to the existing building.

This “box” maximizes the available 20,000 square feet and contains the programmatic elements associated with the soccer, football, softball, golf, and tennis teams organized on three levels – two above the class and one below.

Above this “box” is an academic and dining “bar”.

Cantilevered to the north, south and east by a two-story truss, this “bar” is expressed as a simple curtain wall form – glazed to the north, south and east and wrapped with metal panels to the west.

The “beam” is supported by columns spanning the “box” below.

Internally, the floors with public spaces are organized in the eastern, glazed part of the “Bar”, with service rooms separated in its metal-clad part.

These two elementary shapes – the “box” and the “bar” – work together.

They are united by a series of interconnecting lobbies and staircases.

The building will work with existing buildings to create a sports campus – part of an ambitious master plan to consolidate the university’s sports facilities into one location.

This master plan required a prospective design, developed to complement and support buildings to be constructed over the next two decades, while appearing complete without them.

Project: Stark Performance Center Iowa
Architects: substance architecture
General Contractor: Neumann Brothers, Inc.
Client: Iowa State University
Photographers: Corey Gaffer