Bas Smets has a background in civil engineering, architecture and landscape architecture. He specialises in the conception of landscape strategies and the construction of public space. His office, founded in Brussels in 2007, employs 15 architects and landscape architects. He currently works on landscape designs in 18 countries and has delivered projects in 7 countries.
Starting from a precise reading of the existing land, his projects reveal an exemplary landscape. These projects span all scales, from territorial visions to infrastructural landscapes, from city centres to private gardens. He often collaborates with architects, artists and scientists. He was selected as the landscape architect for the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, in close collaboration with Frank Gehry who is designing a new centre for the production of art. In 2011 he has conceived the black landscapes as a set for Philippe Parreno’s film ‘Continuously Habitable Zones’.
Bas Smets regularly gives lectures in a number of institutions, among which the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Versailles.
In 2008 he was awarded the French prize for young landscape architects ‘Les Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes et des Paysagistes.
How does a landscape take shape? How is it designed? How is it constructed?
The invention of the landscape The notion of ‘landscape’ was invented to name a genre in painting. In Europe, the first ‘landscapes’ were painted in the Low Countries in the fifteenth century, when windows were depicted in paintings. The frame provided by the window enabled the formation of a view of the surroundings that was separate from the scene in the foreground.
Land v. landscape
Landscape painting did not aim for a truthful rendering of the actual landscape. The inspiration for it came, rather, from religious and mythological writings. It was not until the
eighteenth century that the notion of ‘landscape’ was used to describe the existing land. From then on, the site was described using concepts derived from landscape painting. As a consequence the distinction between ‘land’ and ‘landscape’ is essential: the land is the given, the landscape its perception.
Landscape and landscape design
Landscape design can be seen as a prolongation of the discovery of the landscape in painting. Whereas painting depicts an idealised landscape, landscape design actually builds this image. Two separate moments can be distinguished: the imagination of the landscape in a design, and the construction of this landscape design in reality.
CPD Credit Hours and AIA CES Learning Unit Hours are offered to members of the HKIA and the AIA.
This lecture is open to the general public.
The Fall 2013 Public Lecture Series are co-sponsored by “Ronald Lu & Partners (HK) Ltd.” & “Woo, Chow, Wong & Partners (HK) Ltd.” visiting lectureship in architecture.