The new Center for Character & Leadership Development is one of the most important pieces of architecture to go up in Colorado — perhaps, in the entire West — in decades. That’s bold praise, but not less than this assertive building deserves; it rises with precision and purity, with shrewd sensitivity to its circumstances and with an abundant belief in the power of design to inspire great action.
From a distance, the building resembles the tail of a jet floating above its home, the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. But the shape is more than some post-modern folly, an obvious gimmick meant to get attention for the center.
It is, rather, a marvelously engineered, steel-and-glass skylight that stretches 105 feet into the air, perfectly aligned with the axis of the North Star, the navigational standard used by sailors and aviators since the beginning of travel.