Sunday, February 15, 2015

Holy Rollin': Calvary Chapel of the Canyons

Even the most pious among us will acknowledge that every religion works some kind of angle - faith, charity, karma, guilt.  Are you a church-going type?  If so, what angle are they working at your church?   Well, if you're a parishioner of Calvary Chapel of the Canyons in Silverado, CA, then you know that the angle working overtime at your place of worship is the TRI-angle.
Calvary Chapel of the Canyons (1961) - Silverado, CA

Cleaving into the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains like a modernist's interpretation of Abraham's sacrificial knife, this mid-Century church takes religious symbolism to a new level.  It does not, however, take the genius of Benjamin Franklin Gates, Nicolas Cage's inimitable symbologist, relic hunter, code-breaker, mechanical engineer, history nerd, unwitting criminal-turned-savior-of-the-world's-most-valuable-antiquities in the National Treasure franchise, to interpret said symbolism.  To we wacky tacky laymen, it was clear that the Holy Trinity could be found in the endless series of triangles that make up Calvary Chapel of the Canyons.  Narrowly escaping the destructive flames of wildfires in 2013, the church's survival is sometimes credited to its resemblance to "a pair of praying hands."  Perhaps I'm too literal, but I don't see it.  Don't go by me though; I was never able to see the hidden image in those 3D Stereogram kiosks so prevalent in late '90s malls either.  Triangles, on the other hand, I can see.

Alright, so maybe from this angle I can kind of see it...
But approached from any angle, angelical Christians and architectural enthusiasts
alike are greeted by a veritable tessellation of triangles.  The silhouette is a triangle.
The buttress is a triangle.  The three arms of the church's triangular combination bell-
tower and steeple are braced by graduated triangles.  While marked by some rec-
tangular panes, even the stained-glass windows form a triangle.  It seems that the
only thing not triangular in nature at this church is the cross!

We I should have known better than to think the Calvary Chapel website would include a page dedicated to the church's architectural history.  With much more weighty matters on their minds (and souls), it makes me wonder if the architectural significance of this splendid church ever crosses the minds of the squares attending this jazzy triangle!

"A Jazzy Triangle Meets A Square" from Sesame Street (1969)

Sadly, Calvary Chapel of the Canyons was closed for business when we were taking our most recent joyride through "the canyons."  So spectacular is the church that I wouldn't put it past these wacky tacky "holy rollers" to take another joyride out to Silverado on a Sunday morning, if only to catch a glimpse of the interior in person (pictures found online indicate that the interior architecture is also dominated by geometry's holy trinity).  Until then we can only pray that we'll find more opportunities for some wacky tacky holy rollin'.

Calvary Chapel of the Canyons
8002 Silverado Canyon Rd
Silverado, CA


Mr. Tiny

1 comment:

  1. I have so many obsessions and blogs make them even more extreme!! In a good way, I love the way I can learn new things, like about Bob Baker. Do you know he passed away this year at age 90? I did a story about him in college. He was the sweetest most adorable man,well- educated, dedicated to his art. Okay some of my obsessions: Sequinned tank tops, I have them in every color but still hunting for them. Military pins at flea marts to make jewelry. Unusual tea pots and kitsch cookie jars. I talked to a guy who owns about 1500. He works at a jewelry store in NYC. I also love rubber stamps, jeweled vintage compacts and handbags from the 50s and 60s. Especially Judith Leiber stuff. Lori Kabala lace tops. I have a huge collection of seashells in every color and shape. Nice wood cigar boxes. I don't do anything with them, They just look great stacked up on tables. I also love colored depression glass and sconces. Whew! I don't care where somethg is from as long as it is fun and pretty.