Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes sits atop a persistent landslide that has accelerated, cracking glass and shifting walls. Photo: Wikimedia.

A glass church designed by Lloyd Wright, son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, must be dismantled to be saved from a decades-old landslide. Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, sits atop a persistent landslide that has accelerated in recent years, cracking glass and shifting walls. The earth beneath the chapel moves 2 feet or more each month.

Dan Burchett, the executive director of Wayfarers Chapel, told The Associated Press that the ground around the chapel is dangerous to walk around because everything is breaking. The Associated Press reports that the damage includes “a long crack in the 1949 cornerstone, a buckling asphalt parking lot and fractured 15-foot-tall glass panels, as well as torqued metal framing in the chapel’s ceiling and walls.”

The chapel closed in February due to increased safety concerns. Chapel leaders are doing what they can to preserve the historic landmark, including moving it to a nearby location.

“We are taking immediate action to carefully disassemble the chapel’s historic materials as a necessary step in preserving the chapel for generations to come,” Burchett 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.”

Wayfarers was built in 1951 and features 100 seats situated below a glass and wood structure. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2023, just before it closed due to the continued impact of the 1956 Portuguese Bend landslide. Media reports indicate that reconstruction will take four years and cost at least $20 million.

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