Public architecture lecture: Marcel Smets

Rio 30 Project in Madrid by West 8
EKA suur auditoorium A-101

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On March 9 at 6 pm, Marcel Smets will give the first lecture of the lecture series – The modern landscape of infrastructure.

As primary public investments in our societies are devoted to infrastructure, we need to consider roads, canals, railways, trams, cycle paths, etc., not merely as means of transport but rather as prime urban/ public spaces. For this reason, the lecture intends to sketch out how infrastructure design initially transformed from an architectural to an engineering project, and to clarify why this evolution is reversed today. Reviewing significant projects worldwide of recently implemented projects in transport infrastructure, it advances four important paradigms that dominate the landscape of infrastructure design today: 1. hiding its presence; 2. beautifying its form; 3. appreciating it as vehicle for urban improvement; 4. deploying it as the driving force for urbanization.

On Friday, March 10, at 11:30 am, will be Marcel Smets’ book “Foundations of Urban Design” (2022) launch and an open seminar with 4th-year architecture and urban planning students on the 4th floor of the atrium (A400) in EKA.

Everyone is welcome!


Marcel Smets is an architect and urbanist and emeritus professor of urban design at the University of Leuven. As academic, he taught urban design at the University of Leuven (B) and Harvard GSD. As urbanist, he was the head designer for certain important conversions: the Leuven Railway Station area, the Isle of Nantes, three complex nodes of the Antwerp Ring coverage project – and he directed fundamental projects for Brussels, Rouen, Genoa, Oporto, Conegliano. As scholar he published many articles (Archis, Casabella, Lotus, Planning Perspectives, Storia Urbana, Topos, Urbanisme and Urbanistica Etc.) and books: most recently The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure (2010–2016, with K. Shannon) and Foundations of Urban Design (2022). As public servant, he acted as spatial Advisor for the City of Leuven (1995–2001) and as Flemish State Architect (2005–2010).

Within the framework of a series of open lectures, the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of EKA presents a dozen unique practitioners and valued theorists in the field in Tallinn every academic year.

The lectures are intended for all disciplines, not only for students and professionals in the field of architecture. All lectures take place in the large auditorium of EKA, are in English, free of charge.


The lecture series is supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment.


Curated by Andres Ojari