See-through Church / Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

See-through church / gijs van vaerenbergh
© Kristof Vrancken

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

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.

See-through church / gijs van vaerenbergh
© 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.

See-through church / gijs van vaerenbergh
© 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).

See-through church / gijs van vaerenbergh
© Kristof Vrancken

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.

27 thoughts on “See-through Church / Gijs Van Vaerenbergh”

  1. Beautiful. Didn’t catch my eye when I stumbled here at first, but went back for a second look and it really shines upon closer inspection.

  2. Limburg is not in Belgium.. It’s a province north-east of Belgium that belongs to the Netherlands.
    Other than that, very nice.

  3. Limburg is both a Belgian and a Dutch province, this church is located in Belgian Limburg.
    And I don’t think this Church will be used for services. I think it’s more of a statue-type of art.

  4. I agree with infidelnc and also with Ruth – it’s ugly! Is this a combination of art for art’s sake and a throw-it-out-there-and-see-what-happens kind of religious comment?

  5. This church is a beautiful piece of art. Everyone knows that art is something different to everyone. Like they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

  6. Does anyone else see the symbolism of a “see through” church? I mean the structure is entirely full of gaps…

  7. Wonderful, beautiful, inspiring. Good art makes you think and see life differently: Christianity does the same. I think worshipping in this church would be a very special experience.

  8. Can anybody advise me on how to get there? (in public transport, I do not have car)
    I would like to see this church so much.

  9. I’ve been in churches similar to this in Africa, although the idea there was ventilation, of course, rather achieving a certain look.

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