Reading Between the Lines / Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

© Filip Dujardin

Architects: Gijs Van Vaerenbergh
Location: , Limburg,
Stability: Ney&Partners
Execution: Cravero bvba (steal) / MEG (fundaments)
Initiator: Provincie Limburg / Z33
Year: 2011
Photographs: Filip Dujardin

© Filip Dujardin

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.

© Filip Dujardin

‘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 (see also On September 24th, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh will reveal a construction in the rural landscape, by a cycle route, that’s based on the design of the local church. This ‘church’ consists of 30 tons of steel and 2000 columns, and is built on a fundament of armed concrete. Through the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent object of art.

© Filip Dujardin

Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building, or dissolves — partly or completely — into the landscape. Those viewers that look from the inside of the church to the outside, on the other hand, witness an abstract play of lines that reshapes the surrounding landscape. 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. In other words: the church makes the subjective experience of the landscape visible, and vice versa.

© Filip Dujardin

‘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 (one could even consider it to be a line drawing in space). At the same time, the construction demonstrates that this experience is in effect a consequence of the design, since it explicitly refers to the various stages in its conception: the design drawing, the model… Apart from that, because the church does not fulfil its classical function, it can be read as a heritage related reflection on the present vacancy of churches in the area (and their potential artistic reuse).

© Filip Dujardin

All these layers merge in one work of art that is open to various readings, from a strictly architectural one to an artistic one. At the same time, ‘Reading between the lines’ is an accessible spatial intervention that gives, among others, a cyclist that happens to ride past, an unexpected visual experience.

Be a fan at Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s Facebook Page

© Filip Dujardin

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Reading Between the Lines / Gijs Van Vaerenbergh" 27 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • chilli


  • kevin tientcheu

    This is beautiful and very original. Anyone else finds the ceiling a little creepy though?

  • Victor Mascarenhas

    great idea! Congratulations!!

  • emmanuel

    hello bibiche

  • Gatz


  • dw


  • xavier

    对材料的理解恰到好处,而堆砌起的空间意向则表达了建筑师对教堂的理解,神圣而又转眼即逝~ 虚无缥缈~

  • Lars M

    This is a GREAT project – but aren’t some of the pictures actually renders? It doesn’t make any sense that on some pictures its 80% transparent when other pictures from similar angles only are 40% transparent..

    • Audric

      It looks like they took the photos from further away and zoomed in – there would be less convergence from perspective, allowing the photographer to line up the opposite planes (rather than having them staggered and blocking the view)

  • Mark Hash

    No renders here. All photos. The variation is what makes this project amazing. Very delicate at some vantages and very substantial at others. Great work.

  • Jacob Taylor


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  • 90-Grados


  • alwoco

    Intriguing, but really wish that they had taken for advantage of the interior surface….imagine that floor as reflective, or something more unexpected than a concrete pad. The effect of the form is so halting.

  • the_Dude

    Beautiful indeed, a step ahead of Zumthor perhaps… Well done to the design team!
    Let’s hope it stands as long as the rest of churches ;-)

  • Peyman

    It’s just Like a future times building,amazing

  • faezeh

    that was really perfect….transparency in a spritual place….bravo

  • Elubiel Diaz


  • Thellius

    Wow, such a fantastic effect! I wonder if it’d be so popular if it wasn’t shaped as a church i.e. like a box or an abstract form. Maybe that’s the genius of it, to play with our imagery.

  • Nebojsa

    When I think of God,
    it does not matter where and how you talk to him
    or think of him.
    When I think of the church,
    imagine a place where you could always get,
    at any time of the day
    and night,
    a place with no doors, gates, fences, gold …
    just a little shelter from the rain, wind and thoughts …
    and at the same time ..
    available for the same ….
    My respect for the author.

    • tom a tit

  • BunkMooreland

    Well thats one way to get people back into church.

  • Vlado

    Really beautiful! Is the orientation of the church part of the artistic concept – on one of the pictures it is clear that it “looks” in the opposite direction than the church in the town? Perhaps a manifestation that the project has nothing to do with the official church…

  • inkgreat


  • Myriam Mahiques

    It´s a great project. Where it says ¨execution¨ it should be written ¨steel¨ and then ¨foundations¨ .

  • Petra

    Congratulations! The question above on the 3D issue is interesting. I believe this is one of the strong issues of your work – to start the design from a 3D model and then creating a reality that is just as precise as the simulation of it. Keep your ambitions up, it’s wonderful work!

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  • chrisbouw en

    reason to love architecture

  • jane.case3


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  • Narcís Coderch

    m’agrada per immaterial

  • julio amezcua