I must confess, I’m not a religious person. I visit churches not to pray, but to marvel at their architecture. “Reading Between the lines”, the beautiful see-through church in the hills of Borgloon struck me with its almost spiritual flair.
The experience starts at the bottom of the hill where this sign gives you a glimpse of what to expect…
I’m a big fan of dramatic entrances and this one hits the jackpot! After recovering from the first impression and a small walk you find yourself in front of a true inspirational building.
I’m of course not the first and only one to discover this “little” work of art. When I was there for let’s say little less than an hour, people were coming and going all the time, enjoying the view. Some were pretending to be a real priest and started giving each other blessings inside the church. Funny and I never experienced this in a real church 😉
What about the facts? The church is part of Pit, an “art in open space” project by Z33. It is designed by Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, two young architects/artists from Leuven and was built in 2011.
The work is titled Reading between the Lines. The lines are essential, suggesting its true form, but never without loosing sight of the surroundings. The basic dimensions are 90% air and 10% steel:
And those lines make it worth the Archdaily price for Building of the year 2012 (category religious architecture).
100 steel plates were used to reach up to 10 meters high (the tower is 5 meters high). The church is raised on a fundament of armed concrete and is inspired by the Church of John The Baptist in Kuttekoven, which is not so far away from Reading Between the Lines:
When you enter the church, it feels like the construction is very solid. Especially looking up into the tower, you get this view (notice the way the light enters through the windows):
The windows in the church are created by cutting out parts in the vertical layers:
And to make the work of art complete: if you look at Reading Between the Lines from the right angle, you can see the tower of the Church of Borgloon through the church:
And what makes it such a great work? For me the fact that the structure almost isn’t there and can’t be ignored at the same time. It is one of those pieces of art that has found the perfect spot to be displayed. It almost “forces” visitors to sit down for a minute and experience the building, the meadows, the live stock that grazes in the nearby fields and most of all the peace and quiet you can find there.
Since it’s a work of art and part of a temporary project, it was originally designed only for a few years, but luckily there are plans to preserve the site. I hope we can continue to read between the lines for a long time to come!
- Take a look a this beautiful slide show
- A video on the construction of the church (in Dutch)
- A video on the concept (in Dutch)
50°47’39.25″N – 5°21’6.87″E