In a region renowned for natural beauty, it’s hard for a manmade structure to compete for attention, which is why the Chapel of the Holy Cross (780 Chapel Rd., 928/282-4069, www.chapeloftheholycross.com , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, free) seems to take an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” route to its design. The chapel’s 90-foot-tall cross rises between two red rock formations, framed by a simple Modernist chapel.
Perched high above Sedona  and just south of Uptown proper, the elegant structure overlooks the valley’s famed buttes and attracts visitors to its minimalist interior, embellished only by a floor-to-ceiling window behind the altar and flickering red votives lit by believers and visitors.
The inspiring edifice can be credited to the generosity and talents of Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a philanthropist and sculptor who envisioned a building that could glorify God through art. Her design was inspired by a trip in 1932 to New York City, where she saw a cross in the steel-and-glass facade of the recently constructed Empire State Building.
Early sketches of her glass cathedral impressed Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, but the archbishop of Los Angeles ultimately rejected them for a proposed cathedral.
When Staude and her husband bought a ranch in Sedona  in 1941, she found the perfect home for her calling. Staude’s plans were adapted, and the small chapel was completed in 1956.