- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 26 Dec 2020
US Air Force CCLD, Colorado
In June 2016, the architectural practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) completed a new education and research centre for the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. The Center for Character & Leadership Development (CCLD) features a glass skylight that resembles a jet fighter plane's tail fin.
The CCLD will support the Air Force Academy's mission to integrate character and leadership development into all aspects of the Cadet experience while also serving as a nationwide think tank for leadership and character development initiatives.
It is an addition to the Academy's exsting campus, which SOM designed in 1954, and which was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2004.
The dramatic 105 ft glass-enclosed skylight is aligned precisely with the North Star. Its diagonal steel plates form a triangular grid calibrated to resist wind loading. There is no embellishment or ornamentation.
The Forum's terraced levels accommodate flexible meeting spaces surrounded by glass-walled collaboration rooms that emphasise transparency. Symbolically placed at the building's heart, the Honor Board Room contains a conference table beneath the skylight.
The CCLD has reached LEED-NC Gold certification, setting a new standard for green technology and building practices on the campus. SOM developed integrated building systems that influence all aspects of the building's design, construction and operation to achieve this.
Some of the features that were adopted include:
- High-efficiency air-handling units.
- Displacement ventilation.
- Radiant heating and cooling.
- A solar chimney effect within the skylight to expel heated air.
- Classrooms, meeting rooms and offices situated around two adjacent courtyards to minimise the use of artificial lighting.
All images copyright Magda Biernat.
Images and content courtesy of SOM.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Creating comfortable climates despite extreme temperatures.
Study examines how adjustable arrangements can succeed.
Government announces plans to improve accessibility.
Resource addresses pandemic-related NEC4 contract issues.
Incorporating EDI into the provision of fair access.
Government announces global innovation strategy.
An architectural biography. Book review.
The house where the future king of France lived.
The teacher, architectural technologist and mum offers her insights.
Careful planning needed as supply chain issues continue.
The sensitive conversion of a neglected Cornwall structure.
Plan stresses local involvement in city, town and village development.