California’s Famed Wayfarers Chapel, Designed by Lloyd Wright, to Be Dismantled

The Wayfarers Chapel in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California, is set to be dismantled and stored until a new site is determined for it to be rebuilt. The church was closed to the public in February after a recent landslide caused damage to the structure.

The iconic glass chapel, declared a National Historic Landmark last year, was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and was built in 1951. The area where it was sited, known as the Portuguese Bend on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, has suffered from ground movement since the 1950s, when attempts to grade land for a road triggered a landslide.

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“The accelerating destruction of Wayfarers Chapel by the Portuguese Bend landslide complex is a looming tragedy felt by many. Our hearts go out to our many neighbors whose homes are threatened,” Dan Burchett, the chapel’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Wayfarers is committed to preserving our iconic chapel exactly as it has always been, either on the current site or a similar site close by in Rancho Palos Verdes. We are taking immediate action to carefully disassemble the chapel’s historic materials as a necessary step in the preservation of the chapel for generations to come.”

The process to dismantle and rebuild the chapel is expected to take four years and is being led by Architectural Resources Group. The chapel said in a statement on its website that the structure could not “withstand much more damage before it becomes impossible to preserve,” citing unusable utilties, fractured glass panels, and bent walls and framing.

“So many of the chapel’s original materials that were part of the Lloyd Wright design cannot be replicated today: the old growth redwood glulam, the blue roof tiles, the elegant network of steel that holds the windows together. With each passing day, more of this material is lost or irreparably damaged,” said Katie Horak, principal of ARG, said in a statement. “Our team is working against the clock to document and move these building components to safety so that they can be put back together again.”

Ground movement has been particularly pronounced in recent years, with the highway near the chapel rapidly deteriorating. The City of Ranchos Palos Verdes has allocated over $14 million for efforts to mitigate the issue and repair damage from the movement.

“Everyone is feeling anxious and nervous,” Ara Mihranian, the city manager, told the New York Times. “It’s very important to be aggressive and do what we can immediately. For years we’ve been saying something imminent is going to happen.”

Source: artnews.com

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