Also known as “The Glass Church,” this beautiful example of Organic Architecture was designed by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) in the late 1940s. He conceived of the design as a “tree chapel,” a natural sanctuary set in the midst of a forest. His inspiration came from a trip through the redwood forests of northern California shortly following the end of World War II. The church was finally built between 1949 and 1951 and additions were constructed in later years, including a tower and a visitor center.
Located in Rancho Palos Verdes, the Wayfarers Chapel is noted for its unique modern architecture and location on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. As with many of Wright’s buildings, the chapel features geometric designs and incorporates the natural landscape into the design. The Wayfarers Chapel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The setting, the ocean beyond, the trees, the glass, provides a sacred setting where nature and architecture unite. Because the trees and plantings were as important as the architecture, Lloyd Wright integrated the landscaping into the original construction plans. He designed the site, landscaping and gardens to reflect the beauty of the botanical plantings found on the floors of the northern redwood forests of California. Native California plants and trees are called for throughout the grounds. Extensive lawns and outdoor grass amphitheater complete the 3.5 acre site, and complement the numerous gardens. The task of implementing the botanical vision began with the Chapel construction, continues today, and will be carried out in the future.
The church has been featured on the Fox teen drama television series The O.C., as the site of weddings and funerals. It was also featured briefly on the American science fiction television series Sliders, as well as an episode in season four of 90210. In addition, the chapel was part of the final marriage scene in the 1987 film Innerspace and in one of the final scenes of the 2014 movie Endless Love. Most recently, the chapel made an appearance on the season two premiere of the hit HBO drama True Detective.
5755 Palos Verdes Drive South
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Open Daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Visitors Center Daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.