Reading Between the Lines: The See-Through Church

When people call for “greater transparency” in the Church, I don’t think this is what they had in mind!

In the in the town of Borgloon, 50 miles east of Brussels, Belgium, there stands a “see-through church” complete with its own see-through steeple.

Visitors walk through the see-through church

But this structure is not really intended for corporate worship:  It’s part of the Z-OUT project of Z33, an ambitious long-term project to construct art in public spaces.  Z33, a center for contemporary art based in Hasselt, Belgium, plans to construct various artworks throughout the Flemish region of Limburg over the next five years.

The see-through church, named “Reading Between the Lines”, was designed through the collaborative efforts of Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh.  It stands 10 meters (32.8 feet) high and has 100 layers, constructed of 2000 columns of steel.  From a certain perspective, it seems a massive building; but viewed from a different angle, it seems to dissolve into the landscape.

The see-through church, which was named by the architecture website Archdaily as their building of 2012, evokes different meanings:

  • Some have looked at it and reflected on its architectural themes such as scale or ground plan.
  • Some have called it a philosophical reflection on the “emptying-out” of churches in the region, and have used it to introduce a discussion of whether churches which have fallen into disuse could be repurposed for another use.

Check out the project’s website, which includes a photo gallery showing the see-through church from many different angles.



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  • Katie

    See-though churches can’t have private bathrooms so I think it’s a bad idea.