Architect Designs Career Connected to Love of Sports – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Globe Life Field will step into the brightest spotlight in baseball when the World Series kicks off in Arlington tonight.
It’s also a big moment for an architect with HKS in Dallas.
“I’ve been with the company for 12 years and I was very fortunate to be able to work on something as important as Globe Life Field,” said Fred Ortiz, principal at HKS.
Ortiz was the lead designer of the billion dollar ballpark – the biggest project yet for a man who grew up wanting to do two things: play soccer and be an architect.
Ortiz grew up in El Paso, the oldest of five brothers born to parents who immigrated from Mexico. He played baseball with his brothers and other boys in his neighborhood. However, it was high school soccer that led to the dream that one day it could be a close end for the Dallas Cowboys.
He came closer. He came to Arlington, where the University of Texas at Arlington awarded him a football scholarship. It was in his freshman year when a knee injury pulled him out of circulation and the program was permanently suspended. It was the last year UTA had football.
Ortiz stayed in Arlington and earned a degree in architecture. Now, years later, he’s the star of the HKS team that designed the stadium where the new World Series champ will be crowned.
“A moment of pride, right? Satisfaction. And we tend to put a lot of time and effort into these things. Once they’re built and you see them come to fruition, it’s just amazing and more enjoyable to see them used the way they should be used, ”said Ortiz, 53.
The architect and design director finally got to see it in use last week and watch a limited number of fans take it all in. As he watched her, he also remembered his childhood and the understanding that this achievement was not his alone. “I was thinking about how I did this not only for myself but for my family as well,” Ortiz told the Dallas Morning News. “My father always urged us to be proud of our names. Yes, there was personal pride, but it was an overarching family pride. “
With the coronavirus making Globe Life Field’s grand debut this season and capacity now limited, most people can watch the ballpark on TV. While there is generous praise, the designer looks forward to the day when people can see and appreciate all of the work that has gone into them.
“I still get notes, texts, ‘Wow! It looks great on TV, ”said Ortiz. “There are so many great things about the project and one of my favorites is the 1,000 foot long, 100 foot high wall that leads onto the Nolan Ryan Expressway. It has a really nice square and there are these beautiful arches and you have a different angle not only in the ballpark but also towards the neighborhood and it has these amazing balcony seats that give you a great view of the field. “
Just as he has relied on teammates on the baseball and soccer fields, Ortiz is quick to credit the players who carried out the plans.
“I’ve been practicing for over 30 years and it always surprises me that it’s so easy for me to draw things on paper. Developing ideas, ”he said,“ but it’s very humbling to see the contractors, isn’t it? All the people who are actually involved in the construction and physical construction of these structures that we create and visualize. “
As a designer, Ortiz creates great vision ideas and sketches them down to the last detail. It’s a metaphor for his life. His big vision all those years ago, growing up in El Paso, was to become an architect. His career took him to other companies and in 2007 he brought him back to North Texas and the project just a few miles from the university. He helped him believe that the dreams of a boy who drew in the dirt all those years ago could come true.
“I’ve been gifted with the ability to draw, right? And that’s how I’ve done it quite often, ”he said. “Somehow, over 40 years later, thinking that here I was part of a huge team doing great things for Major League Baseball. I am grateful for such opportunities. It’s a blessing. It’s not just one man who runs the whole thing. There are several players. “