Smit opened the Eden Project in 2000, transforming a disused clay mine into a celebrated garden, thanks to landscape architects Land Use Consultants.
Smit opened the Eden Project in 2000, transforming a disused clay mine into a celebrated garden, thanks to the design of landscape architects Land Use Consultants. Earlier this year, Smit’s colleague, Jane Knight, designed the Southbank roof garden – a 1,200m2 green space on the top of Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Born in the Netherlands in 1954, Smit went on to read Archaeology & Anthropology at Durham University. After ten years spent in the music industry, where Smit worked as a rock and pop composer, he moved to Cornwall and helped to restore the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
The Eden Project followed and has now been visited by 13 million people, generating more than £1 billion to the Cornish economy. The gardens boast world-class horticulture, startling architecture and the world’s largest greenhouse.
The project’s aim is to change people’s perception of science and nature by communicating scientific concepts through art, drama and storytelling. Eden also helps to run social and environment projects, both globally and locally, and hosts theatre and music events.
Smit was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Her Majesty the Queen this year, and has been the subject of This is Your Life and a guest on Desert Island Discs.
He follows poet and Radio 3 presenter Ian McMillan, who opened last year’s awards ceremony. For more information on the awards, click here.