John Portman Design Critic in Landscape Architecture
Bas Smets has a background in landscape architecture, civil engineering and architecture. He founded his firm in Brussels in 2007 and has since completed more than 50 projects in more than 12 countries with his team of 25 architects and landscape architects. These projects vary in scale from territorial visions to infrastructural landscapes, from large parks to private gardens, from city centres to film sets.
His realised projects include the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, the park of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels, the public space around the Trinity Tower in Paris La Défense, the Sunken Garden and Mandrake Hotel in London, and the Himara Waterfront in Albania. In 2022 he won the international competition for public space around the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Several his large projects are under construction, such as the urban forest of the Part Dieu station in Lyon, the Nieuw Zuid project in Antwerp and a large art park in Amagansett, New York.
Each of these projects is part of an interrelated research into the possible role and ambition of landscape projects. The aim is to invent ‘Augmented Landscapes’ by using the logics of nature. These augmented landscapes produce a new microclimate while creating new atmospheres. The collaboration with artists and scientists takes a central role in this research.
Bas Smets received his master’s degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering from the University of Leuven and his master’s in Landscape from the University of Geneva. He has taught in various institutions, such as the Ecole d’Architecture la Cambre in Brussels, the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and the Technische Universität in Graz.
A first monographic exhibition was presented in 2013 by deSingel International Arts Centre and Arc-en-Reve centre for architecture in Bordeaux. In 2017 he was appointed General Commissioner for the Biennial of Architecture of Bordeaux. Bas Smets has received numerous honours and awards, among which the Award for Urbanism and Public Space from the French Academy of Architecture and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Bas Smets, “Biospheric Urbanism”
Bas Smets, Lecturer