The Calvary Community Church, located in Westlake Village, California is, admittedly, unlike any church that you’ve likely seen before. There is no stained glass, no steeple, and quite honestly, this church doesn’t look much like a church at all.
Set on a large campus right next to the Oaks Christian School, Calvary is a large, grey building that, if not for the large cross set on the grass, would never be assumed to be a church, but perhaps a large office building or factory. Aside from stereotypical aesthetics, there is one noticeable difference between this church and many others—a set of large steel doors, paned entirely with perfectly buffed glass, at the entry of the high school ministry section of the church.
Adding new doors to your home or business may not be an emotional experience for everyone, but for Doug Lemen, the Communications Director at Calvary, he envisioned a place where students could go on a Friday night after each football game at the Oaks School—a place where they would be welcomed, literally, by a set of open doors.
He wanted kids to feel like there was a safe place for them to hang out with their friends. Doug knew that to achieve this, he couldn’t work with just any window and door designer—he needed a company that would be to achieve his vision, both aesthetically and socially. Luckily, Riviera Bronze stepped up to the plate and provided Calvary with a set of steel doors like no other.
“It’s a great piece of architecture and art, but I just loved the simplicity of it. It’s beautiful.”
Lemen wanted to achieve the effect of an inside, outside experience for kids after each football game. Whatever was happening inside the church, he wanted to have a set of doors that could be opened and create an even larger space for kids to trickle in and out of from 9pm-midnight each Friday night. Steel doors and windows by Riviera Bronze not only achieved this, but have provided Calvary with unmatched elegance.
The doors not only open outward, but function as sliding doors as well. Essentially, they were designed to be a retractable wall, opening up a huge space that leads outside into a courtyard filled with chairs and a fire pit. The doors have added a desired artistic appeal, but, metaphorically speaking, act as a person welcoming a guest into their home with open arms.
“It’s also just the idea of the material. It’s just so amazing. We could have done a lot of things, and we even talked about barn doors at one time, but to have the outside and be able to look at activity and connections and what’s going on with people inside the room as well—that’s important,” he said.
Perhaps the most impressive component of the doors is not just their sheer size, but how surprisingly easy to maneuver they are, despite weighing nearly 1,600lbs per door.
“The mechanics of door—I was really pleased…These are so easy. Very simply you can just push these back and now you have a completely open space, and anyone can do that, said Lemen. Yet, when it’s closed, you get the security of the mechanisms that keep it that way. We got to be a part of the process as well (design and installation), which was exciting from that standpoint.”
To some, doors may just be doors and windows may just be windows, but Riviera Bronze believes that an investment into your home, business, or even your church, should be an investment that makes you feel something when you look at it. At the Calvary Community Church, these doors will never be just doors, but moving forward, they will continue to be the cornerstone for building friendships, lasting relationships, and Friday Night Light’s.
“We’re not doing church things here on Friday night, said Lemen. We’re just inviting you to come to our house and hang out.”