Reading between the Lines
by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

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Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh have completed a see-through church in Limburg, Belgium.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The ten metre-high church is constructed from 100 stacked layers of weathered steel plates.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Gaps between these plates allow visitors to see through the walls.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

With its pointed spire, the building imitates the form of traditional churches in the region.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Entitled Reading between the Lines, the project forms part of the Z-OUT programme coordinated by the Z33 gallery, which aims to bring art into public space.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh were also responsible for creating an upside dome inside an existing church in Leuven - see our earlier story here.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Photography is by Kristof Vrancken.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Here are some more details from Gijs Van Vaerenbergh:


Gijs Van Vaerenbergh makes church sculpture as part of art in public space project

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, have built a see-through church in the Belgian region of Haspengouw. The church is a part of the Z-OUT project of Z33, house for contemporary art based in Hasselt, Belgium. Z-OUT is an ambitious long-term art in public space project that will be realised on different locations in the Flemish region of Limburg over the next five years.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The church is 10 meters high and is made of 100 layers and 2000 columns of steel. Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building or seems to dissolve - partly or entirely - in the landscape. On the other hand, looking at the landscape from within the church, the surrounding countryside is redefined by abstract lines.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The design of the church is based on the architecture of the multitude of churches in the region, but through the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent object of art.

Reading between the Lines by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

The project is called 'Reading between the Lines' and is a project by the duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs (Leuven, 1983) and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh (Leuven, 1983).Since 2007, they have been realizing projects in the public space that derive from their architectural background, but clearly display an artistic intention. As such, their projects do not always originate from the customary commission and carry a large degree of autonomy. Their primary concerns are experiment, reflection, a physical involvement with the end result and the input of the viewer.

  • a g n e

    I like it. It looks like a mirage :D

  • edward

    If it can be imagined, it can be built. Nowadays. This one looks better than most of postmodernism's epistemological legacy.

  • truthnbeauty

    Great depth and meaning……..conceptually strong………..very beautiful……….I want to experience it!

  • http://www.vimarch.com LOW

    That is just plain gorgeous…

  • Archreviewer

    I hope this doesn't go the same way as the Croatia pavillion in Venice…

  • alex

    It's beautiful (last picture especially), but in terms of function – where are the pews? where is the altar? I would like to see photographs of it being used as a church

  • robotica

    I have a strong compulsion to kick it.

  • guest

    For an elegant open chapel, see Thorncrown Chapel by E. Fay Jones in Arkansas, USA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adi.lamror Adi Lamror

    Now THIS is a fine example of postmodernism! I love it when the standard ideas related to architecture are shredded to create something fantastical and gorgeous. I am a great proponent of making art, that evokes thought and emotion, avaiable to the masses. This structure clearly succeeds at that.

    I would love to stand in this and watch out at the sunrise/sunset. Conceptually brilliant, brilliant execution. This is fantasy! m/

  • MissMercurial

    That would be a nightmare to keep clean.

    • capslock

      a hose or rain would do the trick you sourpuss

  • Jim

    They should have done more with the position of the vertical elements (the supports). Patterns etc could have been insinuated or outlines of historic church details could have been created. See 2nd last image- a phantom window appears -intentional?
    But great to see how light contributes to the building's existence /reality as much as the steel contributes to its form.

    Otherwise great concept. Adds fuel to the fire of 'what defines a building'.

    • http://www.djlstudio.com dlaub

      I agree that perhaps the 'vertical' elements could have been positioned in a way that offered yet another allegory, but there will always be something…in that regard.

      Overall, it made me stop and consider. Much, much more than 99% of other architectural/spatial sculpture projects normally do.

      Bravo!

  • phil

    i think it failed in proportions. Churches should look better

  • Christian

    That last photo is simply amazing! It looks like it's dissolving. Wonderful piece of work!