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Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church

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1986, Media Five. 5339 Kalanianaole Hwy.
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)

On a beautiful beachfront property, the church maximizes its unobstructed views of the blue Pacific with its nearly total glass makai wall. Six tiers of amphitheater-style seating, wrapping around three sides of the simple, square interior, focus on a travertine-floored ritual area. A large, copper cross, suspended over the middle of the space in front of the altar establishes a focal point without obtruding upon the compelling ocean view beyond. The open-beam, pyramidal ceiling, with skylights, a clerestory of glass louvers, and a patinated frieze, encloses the space, establishing a coherent whole.

The church's modest, single-story, rusticated hollow-tile facade and low-pitched hipped roof are softened by a hau-covered front pergola. A series of broad steps ascend to the entrance. The open periphery of the eight-foot-high eave line gently transitions outdoors to in. Double glass doors form an apex from which the view is revealed, and the descent begins to the ceremonial space below. With its gorgeous oceanfront setting, this church is a favored wedding location.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church", [Honolulu, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 171-172.

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