Reading Between the Lines

A church can be the crux of one’s life, or simply a physical structure that blends into its surroundings. This range in meaning serves as the basis for Reading between the Lines, an art installation by design firm Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. From inside the Gijs Van Vaerenbergh-designed art church known as Reading Between The Lines, the natural sunlight hits the ground in a noirish checkerboard, belying the construction’s almost completely insubstantial walls. However, from any other angle, the building seems like a solid little chapel.

Building Name  – Reading Between the Lines

Location           – Looz, Limburg, Belgium

Architect          – Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

Execution        – Cravero bvba (steal) / MEG (fundaments)

Inintiator        – Provincie Limburg / Z33

Statibility        – Ney&partners

Project Year    – 2011

Description    –

  • Architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh won a competition, held by Belgian art museum Z33, to create a public space in Borgloon, Belgium, that addressed the town’s relationship with its churches.
  • Basing their design on the traditionally built local chapel in Limburg, Belgium, the architectural duo created their church in 2011 in conjunction with the art museum Z33.
  • After considering fabric and concrete, the firm decided to use Cor-Ten steel.Van Vaerenbergh says “It allowed to reduce the volume of our sculpture to a minimum such that only the essential part of it was left, We started with the full form of the church and then started cutting it.”
  • The ratio of 1 centimeter metal to 9 centi­meters of opening maintained the typological form while allowing the landscape to show through.
  • The 10-meter-tall (33-feet-tall) sculpture could easily divide into 100 10-centimeter-tall layers. It also meant that the team had to create 100 plan drawings for Belgian metal fabricator Cravero.
  • Each plan was marked with the locations of the approximately 2,000 spacers, or columns, that hold the metal layers afloat.


  • The team directed its software programs—Rhino and Grasshopper—to space the columns differently for every layer using the general formula of x plus or minus y, where x ranged from 30 to 90 centimeters and y from 15 to 30 centimeters.
  • Seven weeks after submitting its drawings to Cravero, the team received the 33 tons of laser-cut metal pieces. Though each piece was numbered, organizing the layers—which could comprise multiple pieces if the layer included the piers between windows—took one week.
  • Shop-welding the layers and spacers together into groups that a crane could then hoist into place on site required another three weeks.
  • 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.
  • Looking at the landscape from within the church, the surrounding countryside is redefined by abstract lines.
  • In this way, church and landscape can both be considered part of the work — hence also its title, which implies that to read between the lines, one must also read the lines themselves.

About  the Architect-

  • ‘Reading between the lines’ is a project by the duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs (Leuven, 1983) and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh (Leuven, 1983).
  • Since 2007, they have been realizing projects in public space together that start from their architectural background, but have an artistic intention.
  • Their projects do not always originate out of the initiative of a classical client, for example, and carry a large degree of autonomy.
  • Their primary concerns are experiment, reflection, a physical involvement with the end result and the input of the viewer.
  • ‘Reading between the lines’ is part of ‘pit’, an artistic trajectory with works by some ten artists in the region of Borgloon-Heers (in the Flemish province of Limburg).
  • ‘Pit’ will be the first part of the exhibition project Z-OUT, an initiative in which Z33, the contemporary art museum of the city of Hasselt, presents art in public space.

Author: buildmarvel

Hi… I am an Architect from Lucknow,India and I have only one dream to build a landmark building will recognised by my name……

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