Bas Smets has a background in landscape architecture, civil engineering and architecture. He founded his office in Brussels in 2007 and has since constructed projects in more than 12 countries with his team of 17 architects and landscape architects. Starting from a precise reading of the existing land, his projects reveal a landscape, visible but yet unseen. 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 10-hectare park of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels, the Himara Waterfront in Albania, the landscape for the new motorway between the ports of Antwerp and Zeebruges, the memorial for the victims of the terror attacks in Brussels of 22/3, the Sunken Garden and the Mandrake hotel, both located in London.
A number of his large projects are under construction: the public plaza around the new Trinity Tower in Paris La Défense, the public space around the railway station of Lyon Part-Dieu, the large park of the Nieuw Zuid project in Antwerp, and the Parc des Ateliers in Arles for the Luma Foundation, in close collaboration with Frank Gehry and Annabelle Selldorf.
Each of these projects is considered as part of an encompassing research into the possible roles of landscape projects in a changing climate. The aim is to invent ‘augmented landscapes’, by using the logics of nature. These augmented landscapes create a more resilient environment while producing inviting atmospheres for their visitors and inhabitants.
Artistic and scientific research takes a central role in this endeavour. Bas Smets has worked with many artists, among others Philippe Parreno, for whom he has designed the film sets for the movie ‘Continuously Habitable Zones’. He often collaborates with universities and research centres to conduct climatic studies.
Bas Smets received a Master’s degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering from the University of Leuven and a Postgraduate qualification in Landscape Architecture from the University of Geneva. He has taught landscape design at the la Cambre school of Architecture in Brussels and was in charge of design studios at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, the ENSA Paris Val de Seine and the TU Graz in Austria. He regularly lectures at international schools and universities all over the world and is currently involved in landscape study on Arles and the Camargue with the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University.
In 2008 he was awarded the biennial prize for young landscape architects ‘NAJAP’ from the French Ministry of Culture. Ten years later, in 2018, he received the Award for Urbanism from the French Academy of Architecture. His projects have won many awards, the latest being the Global Ahead Award 2019 for the Mandrake hotel in London in the category ‘Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces’.
In 2013-2014 a first monographic exhibition of his projects was co-produced by the International Arts Campus deSingel in Antwerp and the arc en rêve centre for architecture in Bordeaux. Bas Smets’ work has been shown at many venues such as the Venice Biennial, the Bozar in Brussels and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris. In 2017 he was appointed General Commissioner for the Biennial of Architecture of Bordeaux.
Aga Khan Award : the Revitalisation of Muharraq in Bahrain, which among others includes the Pearl Path project, is one of six winning projects.
Big See Architecture Award : Landscape and Urban Space for the project Himara Waterfront
AHEAD Global Award : Best Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces for the London Mandrake Hotel
AHEAD European Award : Best Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces for the London Mandrake Hotel
Completion of BBS275 Chateau Hanare
Brussels Horta Prize for Public Space for the project Brussels Memorial 22/03
Completion of BBS214 Parvis de Saint Gilles
French Academy of Architecture Award for Urbanism and Landscaping
Exhibition Biospheres at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris
General Commissioner of the Biennial of architecture, urban planning and design of Bordeaux
Completion of BBS142 A11 Motorway Brugge-Knokke
Completion of BBS234 Mandrake Hotel
Completion of BBS120 Waregem Zuidboulevard
Solo exhibition at Bozar in Brussels
Completion of the First phase of BBS185 Thurn & Taxis park in Brussels
Solo exhibition at arc en rêve in Bordeaux
Solo exhibition at deSingel in Antwerp
Conception of the film sets for Philippe Parreno’s
film Continuously Habitable Zones
Construction of the Sunken Garden in London
Award of the biennial French price for the
best young landscape architect
Foundation of the Bureau Bas Smets in Brussels