Reading Between the Lines

Reading Between the Lines is a project by Gijs Van Varenbergh, built in 2011 and located in Borgloon, Belgium. Meant to convey the town’s relationship with it’s churches, the structure takes on the form and proportion of a nearby religious building. The sculpture is simple yet beautiful in its purity of material and simplicity of construction.The form is articulated through the use of layered cor-ten sheets and spacers or “columns”. Columns were placed randomly, with the help of a Grasshopper algorithm, in an attempt to fragment the vertical, while emphasizing the horizontal. The 1:10 proportion of material to air causes the structure to dissolve into the landscape. In order to articulate details such as windows and heavy corners, the plate width is thickened or thinned. This strategy changes the transparency of the sculpture and adds interest to the form. Located on a hill next a popular walking path, the placement of the structure offers an ever changing view as sight lines realign with elevation gain. The landscape framed by the view through the sculpture changes as well, bringing a new awareness of the sculpture’s surroundings.

In an attempt to emulate the construction process, I undertook a steel model. This gave me the opportunity to not only gain insight in the making of the sculpture, but also use the new plasma cutting toy in the shop. More or less successfully, the specific pieces were cut and welded. Unlike what I would have assumed, none of the separate pieces were mitered. I believe that this afforded a larger tolerance during the construction process, as uneven ends could just get ground off. It may have also helped with a more efficient use of material.

Steel model


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