The Thorncrown Glass Chapel Is Arkansas’ Best Kept Secret

Very few images are as satisfying as symmetrical architecture. It only gets better when it’s nestled into bright, natural settings. From the serenity to overwhelming beauty, visiting Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs,  Arkansas will not be a visit soon forgotten.

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Visitors automatically get star-struck by the immense glass walls and the ceiling which shows off the forest around it. It’s really a dream come true with the perfect scenery.

“The Glass Church”

Thorncrown Chapel is a gorgeous wooden structure guaranteed to offer a unique experience whether you’re showing up to worship, tie the knot, or just experience the space. This beautiful chapel is surrounded by the Ozark Mountains and gives nature a centerpiece in the architecture. Rising 482 feet into the air, with over 6,000 square feet of glass and 425 windows, this glass chapel offers a spectacular view!

If it puts you in mind of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wayfarer’s Chapel in the woodland setting of Los Angeles, that concept isn’t far-fetched! Being that E. Fay Jones was from the Pine Bluff area of Arkansas, he knew what natural elements would complement a chapel. He drew inspiration from other parts of the world, such as a gothic chapel in Paris, which was the true inspiration for this particular work. Lastly, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work surely had to have had some influence because he was E. Fay Jone’s mentor! It’s impressive to see the distinct differences in design though the two worked closely together and have a similar artistic flair.

How Was it Made?

Jones desired to highlight the beauty of the outside and incorporate the natural landscape. Native flagstone was used for the flooring, tread pine is reinforced by steel, and the steeple is the sole diamond shape in the trusses. When the sun peeks through the skylight throughout the day it casts reflections, shadows, and light in beautiful patterns.

The blend of E. Fay Jone’s influences earned his style the nickname “Ozark Gothic”. It also won him many awards. The chapel, unaffiliated with any specific denomination, was completed in 1980. The following year he received the AIA- American Institute of Architects, Design of the Year Award. The chapel was also awarded the AIA 25-year award, a prestigious architectural honor in 2006. Over 6 million people have come to marvel at Thorncrown’s organic beauty. the chapel was recently been placed on the AIA’s fourth list of the top buildings of the twentieth century. It’s on my bucket list to see now, anyone else?

Read More: You Can Visit a Life-Size Noah’s Ark in Kentucky

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