A city can be understood as an imbrication of artificial microclimates. Buildings change wind patterns and sunlight exposure, streetscapes modify permeability and runoff. For each man-made climate a similar natural condition can be found. Using its logic, vegetation can be introduced to transform the urban environment into a cooling microclimate.
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.
His realised projects include the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, the park of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels, the Mandrake Hotel in London, and the Himara Waterfront in Albania. In 2022 he won the international competition for Les Abords de Notre-Dame in Paris.
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 providing new atmospheres. The collaboration with artists and scientists takes a central role in this research. He has received many awards for his unique approach, among which the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2018.
Bas Smets was appointed Professor in Practice at the GSD of Harvard University in 2023. With his design studio he explores new ways to transform the city into a urban ecology, capable of producing cooling microclimates to counter climate change.