U.S. Air Force Academy – Center for Character & Leadership Development

In the 1950s, SOM famously master-planned a rigorously modern campus for the U.S. Air Force Academy on a site abutting the Rocky Mountains. More recently, SOM revisited the campus—now a National Historic Landmark District—to design a home for the newly created Center for Character & Leadership Development.

The building’s most prominent feature, a 105-foot-tall skylight, symbolically serves as a navigation aid and as a reminder of the Academy’s core values. Shaped like an aircraft tailfin, this glass-enclosed structure precisely aligns with the North Star. The skylight also provides ample natural light for the Honor Board Room below.

Classrooms and offices ring two adjacent courtyards, maximizing exterior views and minimizing the need for artificial lighting. The building's many sustainable features have earned it LEED®-NC Gold certification.