A transparent church in Belgium by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

A transparent church in Belgium by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

15 December, 2014

Achieving buildings which do not obstruct the view of their surroundings is one of the greatest concerns of any architect and even more so when in natural landscapes. This problem can be solved thanks to the construction of “transparent” walls. Wood and steel make up a peculiar church erected in a meadow on the outskirts...

Achieving buildings which do not obstruct the view of their surroundings is one of the greatest concerns of any architect and even more so when in natural landscapes. This problem can be solved thanks to the construction of “transparent” walls.

Wood and steel make up a peculiar church erected in a meadow on the outskirts of Limburg (Belgium). Depending on the perspective, the building dissolves, allowing the landscape to be seen through its walls, or turns opaque to pattern the green fields of the Haspengouw region of Belgium with abstract lines.

Reading between lines is the result of the collaboration between architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, working together on the project under the name Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. For its construction, the project managers used a technique very common in churches in the region, in which horizontal boards are stacked, leaving empty gaps, to achieve transparent walls.

With a height of 10 metres, 100 slim wooden boards assembled with pieces of steel shape this paradigmatic construction which, far from fulfilling the classic functions of this type of building, proposes a reflexion about emptiness and spirituality, as well as achieving a surprising visual effect which seems to defy the laws of physics.

As the architects note, the number of worshippers who attend church is becoming lower and lower, and so here we find a type of building which is falling into disuse, whose future is destined to be empty and abandoned.

The construction makes up part of the Z-OUT initiative, a Z33 House for Contemporary Art project through which various constructions and facilities have been created, distributed among different public spaces of the landscape of the Flemish region over five years.

Don’t miss the construction process of Reading between lines in this video.

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