Construction has commenced on the US Air Force Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), designed by SOM. This new building will be the most recent addition to the Air Force Academy’s Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was also designed by SOM in 1954. The design and construction of the new facility gives SOM the opportunity to revisit the significant project of the 20th century and incorporate the values of the initial design to the addition.
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The new 46,000 square foot building lies at the threshold between secure cadet precincts and portions of the campus open to the public. The CCLD fits within the context of existing buildings, Arnold Hall and the Court of Honor, and is sited as a connection point among the various flows through the site including cadets, professors, VIPs and the public. The building contains a forum – a gathering space for academic and social interactions – along with conference and seminar rooms, offices, a library and an Honor Board Room.
To site the new building, SOM collaborated with an astronomer, Dr. Devin Della-Rose, to ensure Polaris would always be due north of the building at 39° altitude. The alignment with the Nort Star symbolizes the Air Force Academy’s core values. A seat within the Honor Board Room aligns with the star through an opening in the ceiling and an oculus at the top of the 105-foot-tall skylight.
The building anticipates LEED Silver Certification from the US Green Building Council. SOM has designed an integrated model for the design, construction and operation of the building systems to develop the sustainable methods for this buildings. It is the confluence of the use of natural ventilation in the skylight, radiant heating and cooling, photovoltaic panels, natural lighting and occupancy sensors help reduce the building’s annual energy consumption by nearly 70% over a code-compliant ASHRAE 90.1-2004 baseline model.