We have one certainty in Belgium: churches are all over the place. Rarely the buildings are younger then 10 years as Christianity lost their ‘let’s hit to church every Sunday’ public. That’s why the I Love Belgium team was surprised to see this! 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.
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. Reading between the lines can be read as a reflection on architectural themes such as scale, the 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.
As the church does not fulfil its classical function, you can go eat your pick-nick there, plan a rave-party or enjoy the metal interlaced scenery. So lets reflect on the present vacancy of churches in the area and their potential artistic reuse!
© I Love Belgium
pictures by Kristof Vrancken / Z33