2022 DCC Award Winner
USAFA Air Gardens, Colorado Hardscapes, Greenwood Village, CO
First Place: Architectural Cast-in-Place Concrete Structures, Over 5,000 SF
In the early days of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the focal point of the cadet parade grounds was a 600-foot grid of concrete, landscape, and pools known as the Air Gardens. By the late seventies, the Academy decided the upkeep on the area was just too much and filled 13 of the 15 pools with dirt and grass. The area remained untouched for 46 years. In 2020 Colorado Hardscapes, Greenwood Village, CO was selected to restore the gardens to their former grandeur.
After more than a decade of discussions and planning, in 2020 Colorado Hardscapes was selected to work with G.E. Johnson Construction to restore the Air Gardens to its former iconic grandeur.
35,175 sq. ft. of specialty concrete was developed with white cement and white aggregate to complement the white marble bands surrounding the area as well as to contrast with the pools, finished with a charcoal plaster. Over a mile of exposed finished vertical edges of copings, walkways, and fifteen bridges required innovative forming and finishing techniques. The layout throughout the Air Force Academy, including the Air Gardens, is at multiples of seven, resulting in saw cutting all the paving into 21” "tiles" consistent with the original layout. In addition to the challenges of the layout and specialty concrete mixes, Colorado Hardscapes overcame the challenges of COVID-19, working through the winter, and having concrete delivered to a secured site.