Reading between the lines: A see-through church made out of steel in Groot-Loon

In 2011, the young architect duo Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh from Leuven adorned the already beautiful fruit region of Haspengouw between Sint-Truiden and Tongeren with a perplexing piece of art: a transparent church.



The project is called Reading between the Lines, which is rather appropriate, particularly when, from the inside, you can look out and see the landscape cut into horizontal lines. In a single day, the builders piled up 30 tonnes of steel, creating 100 alternate layers of 1 cm steel plate and 9 cm of air. Their aim was to create order out of chaos. At eye-level this 10-metre-high piece of alternative heritage is transparent, but when you walk up the hill it seems to be complete. The closer you come, the fuller it appears and the further you go the more it disappears. Your distance therefore changes the perspective. In this way, the church is sometimes part of the scenery and sometimes not.

The construction is made of so-called Corten steel, recognised by its orange-brown rust coating, which automatically appears upon exposure to the open air. However, this layer is so tight that the underlying material does not rust away, as is normally the case with steel. Indestructible, maintenance free and therefore highly suited to outdoor use, such as plant holders, border edging, garden lighting, sea containers and even skyscrapers.

At dusk, this work of art reveals its majestic beauty to the full.