Calvary Chapel

  • LOCATION: Vancouver, WA
  • COMPLETED: 2013


LSW teamed with Calvary Chapel to repurpose a 16,500 sq ft commercial building in downtown Vancouver into a venue for religious worship and fellowship.  Seeing the potential of the downtown location, Calvary Chapel felt that they were provided a unique opportunity to revitalize the area.  The three-story facility was reconfigured to house a 400-person sanctuary, street-side café and gift shop, classrooms, child care spaces, administrative office, teen spaces, and a large event hall.

One of Calvary Chapel’s core beliefs is that nothing is ever beyond salvation, prompting them take a second look at the time-worn mercantile building from the early 20th century.  However, repurposing existing buildings often presents the design team with unique opportunities and challenges.  Given the building’s age, the biggest challenge the project team faced was bringing the building up to current health, life, and safety codes.  The building needed seismic upgrades, new fire protection systems, and additional emergency exiting to be made safe for occupancy. The emergency exiting proved to be the most difficult as the building’s limited street frontage meant that it couldn’t physically meet the exiting requirements.  LSW worked with the City of Vancouver to find a solution that would that would provide for the client’s needs and also fulfill the code.

During demolition, it was discovered that one of the walls separating the adjacent building was furred with hundreds of flat-nailed 2x4s, creating a monolithic wall of loosely attached and pancaked studs.  After some review, the project team decided to showcase it as a decorative element.  The studs were stabilized, sand-blasted and stained, creating a distinctive design feature.