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Los Angeles Landslide Forces Closure of Famed Chapel by Frank Lloyd Wright's Son

2 months ago
Featured image for the article "Los Angeles Landslide Forces Closure of Famed Chapel by Frank Lloyd Wright's Son"

Designed by Lloyd Wright, son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the glass-walled Wayfarers Chapel has captivated visitors under its canopy of California redwoods since 1951.

However, the board of directors recently announced an indefinite closure of the chapel and surrounding grounds due to Los Angeles landslide in the area that has caused structural damage.

Significance of the Wayfarers Chapel

Sitting atop the Palos Verdes Peninsula prone to landslides, cracks have begun appearing in the building itself alongside broken glass panes in recent months. With the area facing an elevated risk of sliding downhill, repairs cannot safely begin until conditions stabilize. The closure cuts off public access to a site that just two months ago earned the prestigious designation as a national historic landmark.

Originally envisioned as a tranquil place for spiritual reflection amid nature by 18th-century philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, the chapel blurred lines between architecture and landscape. The glass-encased structure allows light to permeate the space while framing breathtaking views of towering redwoods and the Pacific Ocean below.

Since opening in 1951, it has hosted countless weddings, including 1958 nuptials between film stars Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay.

While inspectors have not deemed conditions dangerous enough for red-tagging or yellow-tagging structures onsite, damage linked to ground movement provided enough cause for the chapel's governing body to initiate repairs.

Recent weeks filled with intense rain and storms likely compounded earth stability concerns that have impacted various hillside communities nearby for decades. Cracks in roads and buildings led dozens of Rolling Hills Estates homes to begin sliding downhill into a canyon last year.

Similarly, residences along Abalone Cove directly south of the chapel have sustained substantial cracking over the same timeframe.

With no definite reopening date set, the indefinite closure cuts off not only locals wishing to appreciate the marvel of Lloyd Wright’s design but also couples planning dream weddings under the redwoods. The chapel now must work to combat challenges posed by its picturesque yet precarious locale on one of California’s famed peninsulas flanked by the Pacific Ocean.



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