Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

127 Tabernacle Photo 01 Photo Johnny Umans
127 Tabernacle Photo 02 Photo Johnny Umans
127 Tabernacle Photo 03 Photo Johnny Umans
127 Tabernacle Photo 04 Photo Johnny Umans
127 Tabernacle Photo 06 Photo Johnny Umans
127 Tabernacle Photo 05 Photo Johnny Umans


For the 2021 edition of the Watou festival of visual arts and poetry, Tabernacle was created as both an architectural as well as symbolic act. A tent-like roof was designed that was hung from two poles and kept in place by steel cables. The structure was inspired by the cable structures of the local hop plantations. With its sagging gable line, it also resembles the many worn stables that can be found in the area, standing solitary in the fields. 

Moreover, the structure is clad with slates, a material historically used for important buildings in the area. These slates are hung onto a metal mesh, instead of mounted on a wooden support grid. As such, the surface of overlapping slates no longer forms a rigid surface but behaves like a hanging piece of fabric.

As its title suggests, the structure is also based on a biblical tabernacle. As such, it appears as a temporary structure that defines a space for contemplation. It combines the dual objectives of architecture: providing shelter (a programmatic and utilitarian act) and creating a sense of place (a highly symbolic act). The symbolic act of creating a sense of place implies a gathering, the sharing of a space and moment. As such, the structure is not only subtly but profoundly connected to local history, but ultimately also embodies a social space that contributes to the program.

Watou Arts Festival 2021


Brennepark, Watou (BE)

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