Think of the word church and you probably immediately call to mind images of stained-glass windows, steeples, bell tower- all of the traditional architectural features that have been the defining characteristics of both small-town chapels and sprawling
cathedrals for centuries. But just as church going has undergone a transformation in the past few decades, with congregations favoring jeans over their dressy “Sunday best”, and modern-day conveniences such as full-service coffee shops
and bookstores becoming as much of a fixture as pulpits, choirs and pews, the overall design of churches has evolved as well.
Many of today’s churches are moving away from formality and embracing a more modern aesthetic that communicates a feeling of approachability and openness – and, behind the scenes, accommodates today’s more technologically advanced needs.
It might be a stretch to say that divine intervention played a part in the connection between long-time Star builder G&W Builders and Reliance Church in Temecula, CA., but it certainly worked out to be a successful outcome for them both when Reliance
Church was looking for the perfect team to build their new church amid the lush landscape and mountainous terrain of their hometown.
G&W Builders, a family-owned company in Brea, CA. since 1983, specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings and has built an impressive portfolio of projects that includes, among other things, airplane hangars, commercial buildings, municipal facilities,
and several churches. While there’s no formal declaration by G&W that churches are their specialty, there’s no doubt that churches are something they do exceptionally well: the recent completion of Reliance Church earned them their
third Master Builder award in the small churches category from Star Building Systems. “Churches are near and dear to our hearts and we always try to do our best”, said Bill Greer, son of G&W owner and founder Mike Greer. “We
feel pretty blessed to have won a few different awards with them.”
For the Reliance Church project, the G&W team worked in partnership with local architecture firm TR Design Group and general contractor Tovey Shultz. The vision for the exterior included reclaimed wood walls and a tall tower that displayed the church’s
logo. “They just basically asked me to design the building open for the reclaimed wood and to do what I needed to make it work and to be as economical as possible,” explained Greer. “So the walls are kind of recessed with the steel
exposed and then we used X-bracing on the inside of the walls so it provides a really nice rustic look that fits with the area.” The clear span building also features Star’s 24-guage Battenlok roof in medium bronze to give it a more industrial
look with straight lines that fit the aesthetic the architect wanted to achieve.
Construction from start to finish took approximately six months, with completion in 2018, and aside from a few minor last-minute adjustments here and there, it was a smooth process for everyone involved – and resulted in a design that truly stands
out in the category.
“We’ve been in the business for 36 years, and been a Star builder for 30 of them,” said Greer, “I grew up with a lot of the Star people. My dad had great relationships with them and now I’ve developed great relationships
with them. They’re very partnership-oriented. They back their builders very well. When we occasionally have to use other companies for certain things, we just don’t get the customer service we get with Star – and I can say that whole-heartedly,