See-through church, Limburg, Belgium by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Project Details:
Location: Limburg, Belgium
Type: Cultural - Public
Architects: Gijs Van Vaerenbergh - www.gijsvanvaerenbergh.com
Photos: Kristof Vrancken / Z33 – Mine Daelemans

photo by Kristof Vrancken / Z33

photo by Kristof Vrancken / Z33

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 longterm art in public space project that will be realised on different locations in the Flemish region of Limburg over the next five years.

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Kristof Vrancken

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.

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.

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Kristof Vrancken

The project is called ‘Reading between the Lines’ and can be read as a reflection on architectural themes such as scale, ground plan etc., but the project also emphatically transcends the strictly architectural. After all, the church does not have a well-defined function and focuses on visual experience in itself (one could even consider it to be a line drawing in space).

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Kristof Vrancken

photo by Mine Dalemans

photo by Mine Dalemans

photo by Mine Dalemans

photo by Mine Dalemans

At the same time, the construction demonstrates that this visual experience is in effect a consequence of the design, due to the explicit reference to the various stages of its conception: the design drawing, the model…Moreover , as the church does not fulfil its traditional function, it can be read as a heritage related reflection on the present “emptying-out” of churches in the area (and their potential to re-use them in an artistic context.