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How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Illustration 1
Drawing 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6


Table of

Visual Evidence

Photo 1: Aerial view of the Air Force Academy, ca. 1962. [Photo 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(USAFA, Special Collections)

More than 300 architectural firms applied for the Air Force Academy commission. By 1954, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was one of the few American design firms that was large enough to complete a project on the scale of the Academy within a short time span. The firm represented the "modern movement" in architecture, which rejected the use of traditional building materials in favor of structural steel and glass. The resulting designs featured clean, straight lines with minimal or no decorative details. Consistent with modern architecture design principles, SOM applied a seven-foot grid or module to the entire Cadet Area. This meant that the dimensions and layout of buildings as well as landscape features were based on 7-foot increments.

Questions for Photo 1

1. Using the key from Drawing 1, identify as many parts of the Cadet Area as you can in the photo.

2. Which building shown on Drawing 1 does not appear in Photo 1? Why? How did the new building impact the layout of the campus?

3. How would you describe the campus? How would you describe the surroundings?

4. What do you think would be the advantages and disadvantages to designing buildings and spaces using a rigid grid system?

* The photo on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 56 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

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