Genk, Belgium – In celebration of the art center C-mine‘s tenth anniversary, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh designed a large-scale steel labyrinth influenced by the structures of the old coal mine where the center is located. From the top of the old mine shafts, the labyrinth can be seen in full.

Known for the 2011 project Reading between the Lines, a porous steel installation inspired by the form of a church, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh is a collaboration between young Belgian architects and artists Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. Like Reading between the Lines, Labyrinth presents a site-specific variation on a fundamental architectural typology. A pure architecture of walls provides a starting point for the installation.

Labyrinth‘s full kilometer of corridors fits within a 37.5 x 37.5 x 5 meter block, and the walk through them is full of unexpected moments. As shown in the plan, large geometric forms including a sphere, cylinder, and cone are cut out of the block, leaving a series of partial, curved walls that expose layered views of the structure and its surroundings.

This cutout technique recalls Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 Conical Intersect building cut, and some of the resulting perspectives resemble Lee Bontecou’s hypnotic steel and canvas wall sculptures.

Labyrinth opened July 10 and will remain installed through September 30, 2015. The structural engineering was done by Bollinger+Grohmann with execution by Meuwes laswerken.

Photos by Filip Dujardin.