Scenic USA - Colorado

Cadet Chapel

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Cadet Chapel - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Photos by Bob Goldman

   Radical change, an abrupt shift from the traditional, always seems to evoke some sort of controversy. This Colorado Springs architectural marvel, surprisingly the Air Force Academy's Cadet Chapel, was no exception. Its modernistic architecture, totally unconventional, shocked many critics during the late 1950s.
   With the help of President Eisenhower, the former commander of the Allied troops during WW II, the Air Force Academy Act was signed into law in April, 1954. Main Entrance - Cadet Chapel, Colorado Springs, Colorado Even though the Air Force became a separate branch of the U.S. military in 1947, little was done to educate its young officers. The act formed the Academy in 1954 and selected Colorado Springs as its permanent site. Facilities followed, when the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill created a twenty-first century look for the academy. Taking an "about face" from traditional architecture, the design used aluminum, glass and concrete for a fresh appearance. The building's crisp, straight edges mimic the "bread and butter," of the Air Force ... aircraft and missiles.
   As with any radical change, the controversy faded over time and the design became fully appreciated. The Air Force Academy and chapel have become one of Colorado Springs's main tourist destinations.

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