SOM in the Press

SOM's Polaris Hall Takes Flight at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Photo © Magda Biernat

Source: Architect Magazine

The Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs, Colo., is a masterpiece of glass, steel, and aluminum. Designed by the late Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the multi-denominational chapel was completed in 1963. With its stunning ribbons of stained glass and 17 identical spires that pierce the sky, the building’s expressionistic design (Time magazine dubbed it “Air Force Gothic”) stands in glorious counterpoint to Netsch’s low-slung, horizontal collection of buildings elsewhere in the Cadet Area, the academy’s academic and residential core...

But there’s a new kid on campus: the Center for Character & Leadership Development (CCLD), informally known as Polaris Hall. Designed by Roger Duffy, FAIA, of SOM’s New York office, the $40 million, 46,500-square-foot building—funded by a combination of tax dollars and private donations—is the most significant addition to the academy in decades.

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