Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Transparent Church, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, Limburg Belgium, 2011
Gijs Van Vaerenbergh's recent construction in the rural landscape of Borgloon (Limburg, Belgium) is based on the design of the local church, but reimagines it as something like a line drawing. By using horizontal plates for construction, the familiar shape of a traditional church becomes a wraith-like object that appears nearly solid or nearly transparent depending on where you're standing. And I think it feels quite sacred.
Modern churches can so reject tradition in both form and materials that they become completely unfamiliar; I'm impressed by the way this project radically reinterprets material construction while retaining a traditional shape that can still be 'read' by anyone as a church.
Obviously it's not meant to meet in, but that is inspiring as well. Churches rarely build anything beyond their own forbidding walls. Landscape interventions, like this one and the cross-gate, are an opportunity to reach into the semi-public space around the church.