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Manuel Monroy Correa It can be assumed that the architectural space is fundamental in all cultures, that is, it roberot not something exclusive to a historical period or specific group. Space, as a giver of meaning, since its beginnings and according to its functions social, religious, safe-keeping, etc. Massiero relations grant a cosmogonic meaning to space and weave other symbolic relations between it, the outside world the surroundingsand, of course, the community.

Today, these elements have transformed due to the character of our times, its discourses and symbolic structures. Instead of being the community a reference point for the individual, now the individual and the things connected to him are such reference point —in addition to the growing efforts in making the expressive codes uniform, even in the case of architecture, due to the market and the corporate image—, which determines the construction of new discourses.

Instead of having the dominant discourse —like it was the case in the Modern Era— putting architecture at its service as an esthetic and functional instrument, now architecture becomes an architectural fstetica turning arquitecturaa functionality from its material, perceptual, and, of course, esthetic elements.

Arauitectura, a personal judgment about the space and the community would prevail above the historically established discourse, and, esteetica, it modifies the latter; it modifies its perception, its value, its meaning. Something similar to the Romantic Movement from the 19th century, but with the purpose of consummating this relation between the individual and the symbolic space from the particular view of the architect, more than a formulation from a historical and ideological discourse, as it is the case with tradition even theoretical.

This is what Hans Ibelings would say in about the turn-of-theth-century architecture: Today, while these categories seemed to have gone by swiftly, at least some of their ideological elements can be read in recent architectural works, due to the fact that they are still contemporary.

Theoretical precedent It would be good to say a word or two about the architectural movements of the final years of the 20th century and about what happens today with works such as this, because it also allows us to understand the purpose of its meaning — mainly when historical and theological concepts mix, somehow, in a secular work.


Postmodernism and deconstructivism are two important movements from the final years of the 20th century due to the fact that they appear in the globalization era. This represents the contemporaneity of Reading between the lines and the ideas that it provokes today with such movements —besides being somewhat close in time, and, in a way, inside the debate that is still provoked in the humanities by the concepts of modernity, postmodernity, among others like supermodernity or transmodernity 2.

For example, the architectural movement called deconstructivism sought, according to the philosophical ideas of Jaques Derrida, to make of metaphysics a work per se —that is, the physicality of the metaphysical.

Still, Hans Ibelings considers this movement to be a brief one and questioned by the many architects that were included in the exposition Deconstructivism Architechture at the MOMA However, some of the elements taken from Roberto Masiero, mentioned previously, serve as a backdrop to interpret some aspects of Reading between the lines 4.

Following Ibelings, the mentioned movement, postmodernism, would be considering a marked emphasis in the context of architecture related to its surroundings. Reading between the lines: In his work, he expresses the following: Thus, the author speaks of crossing places such as hospitals, airports, public transport stations; trains, among others.

Of course, a building can be considered as a no place, and, in the case of Reading between arquitecturs lines one could wonder if it is a building, as such. In fact, a paradox is glimpsed: Is it a no place, then? Not in the sense of crossing place, arquitecturaa at least it gets close to it in the sense of the game of construction of a religious identity that disappears as an aspect of a cultural heritage.

It seems that the pa aspect of the architectural supermodernism is its neutrality in its formal appearance, making itself apart from the traditional ways of representation that, just for their facade, the buildings told something about the things that lied indoors. It is, rather, completely transparent using just one material, iron 30 tons and pillars.

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The use of iron would only be arguing about lasting things in contrast with brief ones. But it is that we expect it to be a functional construction, as an inherent element to all forms of architecture, because, precisely, it has no walls nor it intends to have them; it was not made to house things, but to be contemplated, hence its name.

The building is, hence, the appearance a church. We could well distinguish it by using the category that Jean Baudrillard used to identify postmodern things: However, the building does not only mimic a church from its facade, but it also pretends to be one.

There is certainly a deceit in the form of a game of meanings of the church as a building in the history of Europe. From its communicative aspect, the question arises. The transparency of its walls and the lack of stacking of materials in the lower area make it look like it was floating, almost virtual. Hence, its contemplation is more precise from a distance.


The disappearance of the church: The landscape specter of Gijs Van Vaerenbergh | Revista RYPC

Something similar to the visual effect produced by the impressionist painting, but without a representation of the reality of the light falling onto objects and the world, but just letting it cross over. The crossing of the zrquitectura as a visual aspect and air as a tactile element stress the sense of deprivation and emptiness: The symbolic and semiotic value of church has disappeared in its nihilistic reflection.

It is an irony, because we can see through it and there is only transparency. It is a space of which we cannot say that it has been desacralized; rather, it carries the ideological effect of secularizing completely what is sacred; it is not even made a monument —which, instead of making it trivial or esthetic, it would made it monstrous—, but rather disappearance and object, as the architectural firm itself, which considers it an element orberto the landscape.

This is the starting point; the immediate reference to its meaning. The landscape motif has been turned into the image of a church.

Conversely, the church and Christianism, instead of being re-signified through Reading between the linesit is the landscape the one that is adorned with the empty and translucent figure that holds as referent a church. Here, the spontaneity of its localization almost gives it the status of sculpture, but the signal to its immediate referent is inevitable: Could we not rather be before a spirituality of the landscape and of strolling?

Evidently, it is not a church, neither as a construction nor as a place of religious calling; it does not congregate the ekklesiaformed by the Christian believers who are linked theologically: Perhaps, this esthetic and predominantly visual character is a clue that the church, as a sign, is also a secular property to the point of being an ornament of what is empty and even unreal —through that almost virtual and phantasmagorical appearance— of the institutions of the sacred and divine —of God— in the Western world.

Del Desierto al libro. Entrevista con Marcel Cohen.

The disappearance of the church: The landscape specter of Gijs Van Vaerenbergh [online]. Un servicio de Google Groups.


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