The term ‘transparency’ has found its way into many aspects of society, from politics to policy, economics to religion. And it is the latter that the young Belgian architects have chosen to focus on and take inspiration from. Known collectively as Gijs Van Vaerenbergh in Belgian architectural vernacular, the duo have collaborated to design and construct a see-through church in the Belgian region of Haspengouw. This particular project is part of a long-term art installation in different locations of Limburg, the Netherlands over the next five years as part of the Z-OUT project for Z33 House for Contemporary Art.
The ten meter structure is made of 100 stacked layers and 2000 columns of steel plates. Depending on where you stand, the church can appear to look like a traditional structure, however change your point of perspective and the seemingly solid walls seem to vanish before your eyes.
According to the architects, the amount of people attending churches is on the decline, particularly in the Netherlands, with increasing amounts of abandoned churches which is an issue of concern among several artists. With this in mind, the architects in cooperation with Z33 named this project “Reading Between the Lines”- which implies a perceived, obscure, or unexpressed meaning. While most associate the meaning of transparency to mean that nothing is hidden, everything is in plain sight, the idea behind “Reading Between the Lines” extends this idea of transparency onto the church and equally onto the observer who must learn to read between the lines even among things that are seemingly transparent. Just because you can see something doesn’t make it real, neither does something not exist because it can’t be seen.
[Photos copyright Kristof Vrancken/Z33]