Paris, France

The project rethinks the emblematic public spaces around Notre-Dame as a sequence of climatic atmospheres. Compressed and imbricated around the Cathedral, these spaces frame new views towards Notre-Dame, establish a new relationship with the Seine and offer multiple activities in the centre of Paris.

Year: 2021 – 2027
Client: Ville de Paris
Design Team: Bureau Bas Smets (mandataire), GRAU, Neufville-Gayet Architectes, Ingérop, Franck Boutté Consultants, Les Eclaireurs, BLD Waterdesign, Cronos Conseil

Images (1, 2, 3, 4, 5): Studio Alma
Image (7): Jeudi Wang



Arles, France

The semi-desert climate of the former industrial railway yard is transformed into a Mediterranean climate by accelerating what nature would have done over time. Planted with more than eighty thousand trees, shrubs and plants the park is made with the species of the three surrounding biotopes and connects all the buildings of the new art centre of the Luma Foundation.

Year: 2009 – 2021
Architect: Gehry Partners LLP, Selldorf Architects
Photographs (7, 10): Rémi Bénali
Photographs (1, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18): Iwan Baan
Photographs (3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 19): Michiel De Cleene

Himara, Albania

The former high seawall blocked both the view and the access towards the Mediterranean Sea in this Albanian beach town. Its replacement with several sloped terraces reconnects the town with the sea. The pine trees provide shade and create a new linear forest in front of the buildings.

Year: 2015 – 2017
Client: Atelier Albania
Team: Son-group
Photographs (1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15): Michiel De Cleene

Courbevoie, France

The public space around a new skyscraper in the Paris La Défense business district is suspended above an urban boulevard. Alder trees are densely planted to create an urban forest. Their roots grow freely beneath a continuous granite hardscape that gives a robust identity to this plaza surrounded by glass towers.

Year: 2011 – 2020
Client: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Architect: Cro&Co Architecture
Photographs (1, 4, 9, 10, 11): Michiel De Cleene

Antwerp, Belgium

A new floodwall wall along the river Scheldt is integrated in a linear park. Three large openings, located on the footprint of historic canals, connect the city to its river. Their walls become the support for a monument for the Second World War, merging the remembrance of the victims with the memory of the city.

Year: 2021 – 2027
Client: AG VESPA
Design Team: Antea, ARA, Endeavour, Gijs Van Vaerenberg, Plant&Houtgoed, Steenmeijer Architecten, Util 
Images (6, 7, 8, 9): Luxigon

Muharraq, Bahrain

Seventeen public plazas mark a pathway that connects many historic buildings enlisted on the UNESCO heritage list. The plazas replace disappeared buildings and introduce a new typology of a shaded public space into the dense maze in the historic city.

Year: 2012 – 2019
Client: Ministry of Culture
Architect: Office KGDVS
Photographs: Michiel De Cleene, Ahmed Al Jishi
London, United Kingdom

The former mineral courtyard of a historical building in central London has been transformed into a lush garden. Measures taken on site revealed a microclimate ideal for the development of large tree ferns. Large stone slabs and a misting system complete this radical transformation, while a Franz West sculpture captures the light.

Year: 2010 – 2011
Client: Private
Photographs (1, 5): François Halard

Aalst, Belgium

The monument is located next to the supermarket where eight people were killed in the last and most terrible terroristic assault of a series in Belgium between 1982 and 1985. The location for the project is an area in between the store and the park, where the memorial finds itself suspended between city and nature. A gradient of polished stones turns from dark red to bright yellow, matching the autumn colour of the eight ginkgo trees planted above. Together, they create a ‘sunrise of hope’, 38 years after the tragic event.

Year: 2021 – 2023
Client: Private
Photographs: Michiel De Cleene

Charleroi, Belgium

The city centre of Charleroi was designed as a fortress in the 17th century. The project transforms its open space into a welcoming interconnecting network of public plazas.

Year: 2015 – 2023
Client: City of Charleroi
In association with: VK, MDW, Advisors
Photographs (1, 3, 6, 8) : Michiel De Cleene
Photographs (10): Charleroi Bouwmeester

Brussels, Belgium

One hundred trees have been planted to commemorate the centenary of Victor Horta’s visionary project for the Brugmann Hospital. Ten species have been chosen for their resilience to changes in climate. They prepare the site for the next hundred years by growing into a network of fresh groves throughout the site for both patients and visitors.

Year: 2022-2023
Client: CHU Brugmann
Photographs (1, 2, 3): x CHU
Photographs (4, 5): Michiel De Cleene