- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 06 Jul 2016
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
The initiative to enhance the environment continues.
Could underused community spaces offer an alternative to working from home?
Keeping workers and workplaces safe in the United States.
A history lesson in geographic information systems.
A low tech, easy to use method of extinguishing small fires.
How can these valued spaces be reused?
Partnership avoids the need for listed building consent.
Connecting building design from inception to completion to operations.
Gregor Harvie predicts interoperability will be construction’s Uber moment.
Expert commentary and insight.
Guidance offered for stained glass window maintenance.
Define need before determining viability.