Cityscapes & Urban architecture - Rajesh Jyothiswaran


At first glance this spectacular United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel in Colorado Springs, CO does not betray any sense of repair needed. But there is a bid out right now and the rough order of magnitude for this effort is between $25,000,000 and $100,000,000, yes that is 100 million God’s green bucks.

The most-visited man-made attraction in the Colorado will be shutting its doors in June 2018 for much-needed repairs. The chapel is expected to be closed for three or four years. The iconic structure has apparently leaked since it was built in 1963.

The chapel, a National Historic Landmark, is a striking, triangular-shaped structure that stands 150 feet tall. The project includes replacing the 53-year-old chapel’s aluminum skin, the panels on the inside, removing and cleaning 24,000 stained-glass tiles, stiffening the steel superstructure and adding a water barrier, All of the glass will be replaced with high-efficiency glass, with the exception of the stained glass, which will remain the same.

There is a enormous amount of debate and controversy if tax payer money needs to be lavished on a place of worship. My own opinion is if repairs are needed, they need to be done but with responsibility and I hope the Government will not let the costs spiral out of control. After all, it cost a relatively paltry $3.5 million to build 54 years ago, a tiny fraction of the cost of repairs.

So whichever side of the debate you are, if you happen to be in Colorado Springs, do visit this place. You may not be able to see it for several years. That is exactly what I did with my family on my last visit. We drove straight to the USAF Academy and checked this place off the list for our kids. The nice thing about this attraction is, it costs nothing to visit but you do have no option but to go during normal business hours. I really would have liked to shoot a sunset or sunrise outside the superlative structure. But it is not possible unless you are in the Air Force Academy or perhaps know someone that can take you there (hint: If any of you have that sort of influence, please let me know and I will make a trip out there)

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