I love traveling. I love exploring new places. And perhaps best of all is when you end up going somewhere new and discovering something really cool yet really unexpected. This happened to me just recently when I spent an afternoon in Rancho Palos Verdes, and stumbled across the beautiful Wayfarers Chapel built by Lloyd Wright, son of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. If you ever are in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend driving the thirty minutes out of town to check out this gorgeous testament to the beauty of nature.
Where is Rancho Palos Verdes, anyway?
RPV sits on the edge of the Palos Verdes Peninsula just south of Torrance and west of San Pedro. It’s one of the richest cities in the country, with the Trump National Golf Club and the luxurious Terranea Resort nestled in there. It’s worth driving through just to goggle at the beautiful mansions and walk along the gorgeous cliffs and beaches. However, it’s also the location of the glass church known as Wayfarers Chapel.
What’s so special about Wayfarers Chapel?
Well, for one, it looks like this:
I know, right? Absolutely stunning. Clearly, FLW’s talent ran in the family. Wright hoped the chapel’s glass-and-wood architecture, allowing stunning views in every direction, would serve as a reminder of man’s unity with the natural world. He said:
“When the trees that surround the Chapel grow up, they will become the framework, become a part of the tree forms and branches that inevitably arise from the growing trees adjacent to it. I used the glass so that the natural growth, the sky, and sea beyond became the definition of their environment. This is done to give the congregation protection in services and at the same time to create the sense of outer as well as inner space.”
If you want to get a sense of what he’s talking about, the left is one of the photos I took of the exterior of the chapel.
Do you see the chapel in there? No? Maybe a little? That’s the point. The chapel is almost impossible to see with the miniature forest surrounding it, providing privacy but also a unique experience within the natural world.
In fact, the only way I ended up finding it was by looking for the chapel’s tower, a soaring, beautiful stone structure, pictured on the right.
Besides the chapel structure itself, there’s also gorgeous fountains and beautiful gardens.
OK, you’ve convinced me. This place is gorgeous. Do I need to prep at all?
Not at all! The chapel is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you’re so inclined, you can also attend a worship service on Sundays at 10 a.m. and if you want, you could also be baptized here. If you have some cash to spare, you can have your wedding here as well! That said, it’s a good idea to call ahead when you decide to visit to make sure that you’ll be able to get inside the chapel; I didn’t, and I had to wait for a wedding ceremony to finish before I could head inside. For more information, check out www.wayfarerschapel.org.
What are some of your favorite buildings to visit? What buildings do you think are gorgeous?
Want to check out more art trips you can take? Check out other trips in our Art Travels category.