United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is a striking form of architecture that is quite a visually interesting sight. It looks more like a sculpture rather than a conventional place of worship. It has been regarded as one of the prime examples of modernist architecture.

The Cadet Chapel is located at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is a striking feature in the Cadet Area of the Academy. It was designed by noted architect Walter Netsch, Jr. and was completed in 1962. The design was considered as controversial during its time but has since been highly regarded by designers and architects ever since. It was eventually named as a National Historic Landmark in 2004.

The most distinct feature of the this modern building is its row of seventeen spires. The structure is comprised of a tubular steel frame made up of 100 identical tetrahedrons, each spanning 75 feet long. The tetrahedrons are enclosed by clear aluminum panels and spaced a foot apart. There are one foot gaps between the tetrahedrons which are filled with inch thick colored glass. The Cadet Chapel overall is about 150 feet high, 280 feet long and 84 feet wide.

The front facade of the chapel has a wide granite stairway with steel railings and aluminum handrails. The stairway leads to a landing a story above towards the gold anodized aluminum doors. The same material also covers the original windows. The chapel shell structure alone and the surrounding grounds cost about 3.5 million dollars to build and design.

Inside, the Cadet Chapel houses three different worship areas. The main floor houses the Protestant Chapel which can seat around 1,200 people. The Catholic Chapel is located below the Protestant Chapel and can accommodate about 500 people. The Jewish Chapel is also located at the lower level and seat about a hundred people. It is circular in shape and is designed to suggest a tent-like structure. There is also an All-Faiths Room available for smaller religious groups inside the chapel.

 
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