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See-Through Church Brings This world In

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh ©Z33 Kristof Vrancken 2 architecture

Like an abstract idea superimposed on the landscape, our consciousness, alone among the universe – as far as we know! – is fundamentally different from the insensate natural world. This recognition is the foundation of much religious art from many cultures.

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh 2 architecture

In these stunning photos from Mine Dalemans and Kristof Vrancken from Architecture Lab, we see – or more accurately – don’t see – an extraordinary, almost completely see-through church, that represents that peculiar relationship.

07 Gijs Van Vaerenbergh 1 architecture

If we were flying over it, maybe in a balloon, it would seem like a normally solid structure. But it is actually constructed entirely of spaces created by layering rusted steel strips, laid flat and separated by spacers to create the “air holes” that you see through.

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh ©Z33 Kristof Vrancken architecture

Up close, the ones that are at eye level look slimmer. As you look up, the ones further up occupy more space.

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh Kristof Vrancken architecture

The project in Belgium is a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh – Gijs Van Vaerenbergh.

It is actually not a serious design for a church but an artwork. ‘Reading between the Lines’ is part of an ambitious longterm art in public space project called Z-OUT, that will take form over the next five years in various locations within the Flemish region of Limburg in Belgium.

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh ©Z33 Kristof Vrancken 3 architecture

The idea expressed is that churches are emptying out of their congregations in modern times, and the “emptyness” of the church represents that idea.

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh ©Z33 Kristof Vrancken 2 architecture

But by bringing the world into the church – if it were an actual church, not Art – the architects express an appropriate idea.  The ability to see the world through the lens of the church would represent the idea that how we live in this world is important to the religious and spiritual life.

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