The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh


The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Designers Gijs Van Vaerenbergh have suspended a network of chains to create an upside-down dome inside this church in Leuven, Belgium.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The Upside Dome hovers in front of the pulpit inside St-Michiel Church, suspended from the roof where the building's missing dome should be located.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The installation is open to the public until 31 October 2010.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Photos are by Jeroen Verrecht.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Here's a note from the architects:

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

When visiting the St-Michiel Church in Leuven one might overlook that the church has no dome. Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh build an in- stallation that takes this seemingly trivial fact as a starting point and generate the missing dome in a remarkable way.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The installation casts light on the architecture of one of the most prestigious baroque churches of the Low Countries from a contemporary perspective. Using the design technique of the catenary, a new structure emerges in the church. The Upside Dome is a real size scale model, comprised of hundreds of meters of chain, which is literally and figuratively the counterpart of the unfinished dome.

The Upside Dome by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Pieterjan Gijs (1983) and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh (1983) both studied archi- tecture and work together under the name Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in a multidis- ciplinary practice with an important focus on public space.

See also:


Parish House St. Josef
by Frei + Saarinen Architects
Robert Stadler installation
in a Parisian church
The Vanishing Mosque
by RUX Design
for Traffic

Posted on Thursday October 21st 2010 at 5:21 pm by Laura Chan. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Moush!

    This is very Romantic!

  • dasha

    So simpe and so efective…. so suttle and beautiful

  • What a bizarre yet cool and visually dramatic experiment to marry between the light modern form & heavy classical religious(!) function. Great design exercise indeed.

    • Carmen

      In deed, an amazing design/installation!

      but why do you, Albert (alias "FromFollow"s"Function"), do not post under your real profile anymore? did they block you for posting too much nonsense? you really should get a job… anything but architecture…

  • Daniel

    Wow how completely unremarkable. The only thing that is remarkable is the fact that they do not even attempt to acknowledge that the basis of their design is over three hundred years old. Can anyone say Robert Hooke? Or more notably Antoni Gaudi?

  • the flickrfade

    Pure elegance. Well done.

  • Nice effect! There's some Gaudi in this, no doubt!

  • zaedrus

    Haters gonna hate, but that form sure is seductive!
    The criss-cross effect is quite striking too,
    especially when you see they're not physically enmeshed.

    Sure, some credit goes to Gaudi's structural technique,
    but this uses the idea and applies it with a fresh approach.

    Well done!

  • Dave

    this looks very dramatic because of lighting… i wonder how the real thing looks like..

  • Eduardo

    very dramatic and Mystical!
    nice work!

  • Matthias

    Well, the structural methodology could refer to Gaudi, but personally I perceive that this piece serves a completely different purpose.

    Psychologically, the object looks like a visualization of a sudden visitation of some higher power, that starts with a 3D mesh but is about to materialize — or, just remain as a virtual "blob".
    It's the more disturbing, almost threatening, as the non-existent mass is just about to detach from the vault and fall on the parishioners.

    Certainly not how people want to perceive the presence of God, but otherwise very interesting, IMHO.

    On a side note:
    I can't imagine what the ceiling was made of…

  • I can't imagine what the ceiling was made of…

  • Rouwayda Habka

    J'ai bien aimé !!!!!!!!!!!
    Eglise FORMIDABLE et l'interprétation est de plus en plus

  • Carlos marco

    Gaudi revisited with an artistic purpose.

  • Jake

    i went to see it today. The pictures look better then the real thing. Still nice work

  • Gravity is a great designer!

  • fizz

    Sublime – and a visual counterpoint to the vaults of the knave.

  • Robert

    Interesting concept, emphasizing the elegance and lightness of the stone arches. Might have been even more effective if done inside s somewhat more sober Gothic interior such as the St. Jan in Maastricht, Netherlands. A remarkable and beautiful effort none the less. Thank you !

  • Gabriela

    That reminds me a lot of Gaudi and his structural models for the Sacred Family Church in Barcelona. So subtle.