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
- 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.