The US Air Force Academy (USAFA) will break ground on the $40m Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) designed by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).
The 46,000ft² CCLD is the first new building since 1981 to be constructed on the terrazzo (the central square) of the academy’s campus, which was also designed by SOM in 1954 and named a National Historic Landmark District in 2004.
CCLD, which will be constructed between Arnold Hall and Harmon Hall, will have spaces for cadets, professors, visiting VIPs and the public.
The building will feature a series of break-out, conference and seminar rooms, offices, a library, a ceremonial stair and several entrances, which will be identified by a threshold of glass and light.
The facility will also feature the Forum, a gathering space for academic and social interaction and the Honor Board Room, which will investigate potential violations of the Cadet Honor Code.
Sustainable features in the building will reduce annual energy consumption by approximately 70% with the use of natural ventilation in the skylight, radiant heating and cooling, photovoltaic panels, natural lighting and occupancy sensors.
A 105ft glass skylight compass will define the CCLD. The compass is in optical alignment with Polaris, the North Star, which will symbolise the core values of the academy.
The architecture firm has collaborated with astronomer Dr. Devin Della-Rose to ensure Polaris remains due north of the building at a 39° altitude.
USAFA deputy director of the directorate of installations Duane Boyle said that Polaris has long been a navigation tool used to guide the traveler.
"Likewise, it symbolically relates to one’s own ethical and moral journey through life," Boyle said.
"SOM’s steel and glass tower aligns with Polaris sending a powerful message to all that leadership and character development are paramount in all that we do."
USAFA expects to achieve LEED Silver Certification for the CCLD from the US Green Building Council.
Construction on the CCLD is expected to complete in early summer 2014.
Image: The Center for Character and Leadership Development will feature conference and seminar rooms, offices and a library. Photo: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.