Born in Tunisia and raised between Tunisia and Paris, Henri Bava started his studies with a degree in plant biology from Paris-Orsay University. Showing a keen interest in the living world but from different perspectives, he enrolled afterwards in the École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage (ENSP) in Versailles in 1980, following at the same time a stage design course at the Jacques Lecoq École Internationale de Théâtre in Paris. He graduated as DPLG landscape designer in 1984 with Michel Corajoud as supervisor, and worked for one year in his agency in Paris. In 1986, with his current associates, he founded Agence Ter. Just three years after obtaining his degree, he returned to the ENSP Versailles as a teacher, in parallel to his professional activities, for a period of ten years. As of 1989, after the departure of Michel Hössler for French Guyana, he headed the Agence Ter office in Paris together with Olivier Philippe. From 1993 to 1997, he combined this with work as a State Consultant Landscape Designer for the DDE of the Eure County. Henri Bava was elected president of the French Landscape Federation, a position held between 1996 and 1998.
It was at this time that he initiated his work in Germany. He lead the execution of the Aqua Magica Park project near Hanover and was appointed at the same time, under a European recruitment process, as full professor and director of the Landscape department of the school of architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), where he is still teaching today. In 2000, he created an Agence Ter office in Karlsruhe, from where he directed large cross-border territory development projects, rehabilitation projects for derelict industrial sites or the realisation of major public venues, such as in Duisburg. Six years later he was elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts. After returning to Agence Ter Paris in 2007, he was elected president of the governing board of the École Nationale de la Nature et du Paysage, Blois (ENSNP) in 2010. That same year, Henri Bava was invited to the Harvard University Graduate School of Design by Charles Waldheim, director of the landscape department, where he often teaches in the frame of design studios until today.