a new book written by julien de smedt takes a look at the career of the belgian architect so far. titled ‘built unbuilt’, the publication covers 16 years of work — from the inception of the architectural practice PLOT with bjarke ingels, to the formation of his own firm julien de smedt architects. illustrated with beautiful color images by photographer julien lanoo, the book takes readers through a diverse array of projects, which range in scale from interior furniture to major built developments in china. ‘built unbuilt’ shines a light on the key themes that underscore de smedt’s work, notably community, inclusion, and the environment.

julien de smedt built unbuilt
a set of ‘hedonistic’ rooftop penthouses in copenhagen | all images by julien lanoo
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the publication covers julien de smedt’s best known projects including maison stephane hessel in lille, the gateway in hangzhou, and the holmenkollen ski jump in oslo. ‘built unbuilt’ also showcases many coastal projects including kalvebod waves in copenhagen, seabath in faaborg, and the iceberg housing development in aarhus. the book includes an essay by karen wong, deputy director of the new museum, who says that ‘built unbuilt is a testament of a deliberate versatility that frames an ingenious practice that continually evokes community and social engagement. de smedt makes public space synonymous with play, providing performative architecture that encourages city dwellers to become actors in their own backyard.’

julien de smedt built unbuilt
‘gwell’ is an office and hotel building in seoul
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described by de smedt as an ‘architectural cemetery’, the second half of the book outlines ideas and concepts that have yet to come to fruition. ‘at a time when ideology and idealism is being challenged more than ever, the realm of ideas and concepts as a possible path to progress is worthy of exploration, revisiting and even recovering those beams of optimism which, even if they fell by the wayside, lit up the road along the way,’ explains the architect.

julien de smedt built unbuilt
‘kalvebod waves’ combines bathing and water sports in denmark
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julien de smedt is an architect and engineer who began his career working for rem koolhaas. later he co-founded PLOT in 2001, before founding his own architecture firm — julien de smedt architects — in 2006. the multidisciplinary office currently has offices in brussels, copenhagen, and shanghai. ‘built unbuilt’ is published by frame publishers and is available to buy here.

julien de smedt built unbuilt
‘hangzhou gateway’ is a 16-storey office complex in china
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julien de smedt built unbuilt
a pathway invites pedestrians to meander beneath the building

julien de smedt built unbuilt
‘secret house’ is a private residence in belgium
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julien de smedt built unbuilt
the mcdo housing scheme forms part of a masterplan in paris’ 19th arrondissement

julien de smedt built unbuilt
the isbjerget housing project was designed by JDS alongside seARCH, CEBRA, and louis paillard
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julien de smedt built unbuilt
the faaborg harbour bath features piers that branch seawards with swimming areas in between
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julien de smedt built unbuilt
the ‘euralille youth centre’ seeks to stand as an urban catalyst
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julien de smedt built unbuilt
the building’s distinct angles are continued internally

julien de smedt built unbuilt
the mountain was completed in copenhagen in 2008

julien de smedt built unbuilt
‘built unbuilt’ is a retrospective of julien de smedt’s 16 year practice

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