Re-landscaping Notre-Dame

A Conversation with Bas Smets and James Corner

In Person & Livestream
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
7pm ET
FIAF Skyroom

In English • 60 min

Four years following the tragic Notre Dame de Paris cathedral fire, the extensive renovations have progressed to the surrounding neighborhood. Landscape architect of the LUMA park in Arles, Bas Smets, was selected to reimagine the public space around Notre Dame de Paris, in collaboration with the offices GRAU, NGA, and Ingerop, as part of the building’s monumental renewal.

FIAF welcomes Smets to discuss his vision for the new landscape, including a new plaza, extensive green spaces, a redesigned park along the Seine, and a dedicated visitor’s center. Smets will be joined in conversation by New York–based landscape architect James Corner (NYC’s High Line & Seattle’s Central Waterfront) offering insight on how design plays a role within integrating green spaces into urban environments. Sara Zewde, Assistant Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, will moderate the conversation and Q&A.

The conversation will be followed by a wine reception.

Bas Smets

Bas Smets has a background in landscape architecture, civil engineering and architecture.

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    • 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 centers 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.

      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.

James Corner

James Corner is the CEO of James Corner Field Operations, based in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, London and Shenzhen.

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    • Important urban public realm projects include New York’s highly-acclaimed High Line; Seattle’s Central Waterfront; San Francisco’s Presidio Tunneltops; London’s South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside; and Shenzhen’s new city of Qianhai.

      James’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, most notably the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, and the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Architecture.

      James is Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where he has served on the faculty since 1989, and as Professor and Chairman 2000-2013. He sits on the Board of the Urban Design Forum and the Government Advisory Board of Shenzhen, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters.