SOM has unveiled a new Center for Character Development (CCLD) That will rise next to their famous Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The soaring glass-clad tilted tower will be the core of a character and leadership program at the Academy. Its integrated design includes a sunken pavilion, and the entire project is aiming for LEED Platinum Certification. The tower points to Polaris, the northern star, and balances the campus’s chapel with secular architecture designed to develop the next generation of leadership at the USAF.

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CCLD’s 105 foot glass tower streams daylightinto the sunken central court of the facility. Quality interaction between cadets and officers is the core mission of the design — it encourages this through a light-filled and symbolically resonant tower which will frame Polaris, the navigation star. Focusing on character training with such a prominent facility bodes well, considering the troubled recent history at the Academy.

While SOM has not published details of the facilities incorporated sustainable design elements, their goal of achieving LEED Platinum is laudable — the building’s improved quality and lowered energy use will add up a smart investment for the military. The Air Force is taking bold steps in securing their energy needs sustainably — the center will be joined by a huge solar electric array by SunPower on the campus grounds that will produce 15% of the required energy for the Academy.