Located on a knoll overlooking the ocean at Portuguese Bend, the “Glass Church” was designed by Lloyd Wright, architect and son of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Chapel Architect Lloyd Wright, son of the pioneering American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, conceived the design of Wayfarers Chapel as a “tree chapel”, a natural sanctuary set in the midst of a forest. His design is one of the foremost examples of Organic Architecture. One of its underlying principles is that the trees are the forms and the space within the forms is sacred space.
The setting, the ocean beyond, the trees, the glass, provides a sacred setting where nature and architecture unite to celebrate the presence of God. Lloyd Wright’s inspiration came on a trip through the redwood forests of northern California shortly following the end of World War II. He stopped at a little restaurant surrounded by trees. During lunch he looked up through a skylight and saw the magnificent redwoods rising up on the sides and branches arching overhead like a great natural cathedral. So impressed with the sight he vowed that if he ever received a commission for a church this would be his inspiration.
“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.”
The chapel and grounds are open to the public without charge when there are no private events being held.
Glory, glory hallelujah.
The chapel is part of the Swedenborgian Church of North America and serves as a memorial to its founder, Emanuel Swedenborg.
The church was designed by Lloyd Wright in the late 1940s and was built between 1949 and 1951. Additions were built in later years, including a tower and a visitor center.
The consistent use of the triangle throughout the chapel; building and grounds is intended to be symbolic of spiritual values. The huge, circular glass panes also convey spiritual concepts.