Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice E. Fay Jones and completed in 1980, the Thorncrown Chapel in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains quickly became a prominent work of American architecture. Featuring 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass, the 48-foot-high structure was built entirely from local materials that can be carried by two people (in order to minimize site impact.) All in all, it's a prime example of Wright's philosophy of organic architecture, which calls for harmony between the built environment and the natural world. This June marks the 35th anniversary of the striking building and to celebrate, the Chapel granted Atlanta photographer Randall Connaughton unfettered access to shoot the structure through the seasons of 2014-2015 and from some never-before-seen angles.
Commissioned by retired schoolteacher Jim Reed, Thorncrown Chapel was nearly abandoned half-way due to depleting funds. But as the story goes, Reed stuck with it, eventually receiving a miraculous loan that would fund the rest of the project. And it's a good thing he did. Since it opened, the non-denominational sanctuary has received over 7 million visitors, numerous architecture awards (including the American Institute of Architects' "25 Year Award" in 2006), and a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2013, the peace and harmony of Thorncrown Chapel came under threat with the proposal of a 50-mile long power line across Northwest Arkansas. One potential route would come within 500 feet of the chapel. After a 20-month "war" between Southwest Power Company (SWEPCO), the company behind the plan, and local grass-roots organization "Save the Ozarks," SWEPCO officially dropped the controversial proposal in December 2014. The full gallery of new photos is this way.
· A Magical, Modern Chapel in the Ozark Mountains [official site via Design Milk]
· 17 Avant-Garde Churches Bucking the Cathedral Standard [Curbed National]