4.4
7 votes

Cadet Chapel, Air Force Academy

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80840 USA

Free
Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Sat 7:30a
  • Independent
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • No Wifi
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“Considered one of the most beautiful examples of modern American architecture”

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, completed in 1962, is the distinguishing feature of the Cadet Area at the United States Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs. It was designed by renowned architect Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago. Construction was accomplished by Robert E. McKee, Inc., of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally controversial in its design, the Cadet Chapel has become a classic and highly regarded example of modernist architecture. The most striking aspect of the Chapel is its row of seventeen spires. The original design called for nineteen spires, but this number was reduced due to budget issues. The structure is a tubular steel frame of 100 identical tetrahedrons, each 75 feet (23 m) long, weighing five tons, and enclosed with clear aluminum panels. The panels were fabricated in Missouri and shipped by rail to the site. The tetrahedrons are spaced a foot apart, creating gaps in the framework that are filled with 1-inch-thick (25 mm) colored glass. The tetrahedrons comprising the spires are filled by triangular clear aluminum panels, while the tetrahedrons between the spires are filled with a mosaic of colored glass in aluminum frame. The Cadet Chapel itself is 150 feet (46 m) high, 280 feet (85 m) long, and 84 feet (26 m) wide. The front façade, on the south, has a wide granite stairway with steel railings capped by aluminum handrails leading up one story to a landing. At the landing is a band of gold anodized aluminum doors, and gold anodized aluminum sheets apparently covering original windows. The shell of the chapel and surrounding grounds cost $3.5 million to build. Various furnishings, pipe organs, liturgical fittings and adornments of the chapel were presented as gifts from various individuals and organizations. In 1959, a designated Easter offering was also taken at Air Force bases around the world to help complete the interior. The Cadet Chapel was awarded the American Institute of Architects' National Twenty-five Year Award in 1996 and, as part of the Cadet Area, was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 2004.

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Reviewed by
Katheryn

  • 28 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
March 15, 2016
Rated 5.0

The chapel's unique architecture compliments this beautiful area known as Black Forest. There is a short paved walk to the chapel from the parking at the visitor's center, and you must enter through the visitor's entrance if you do not have a military ID. I did not get a chance to experience a guided tour, but simply taking in the sites was enough to entertain. Not to mention, it's free!

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Cadet Chapel, Air Force Academy

U.S. Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, Colorado
80840 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Mon - Sat: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Sun: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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