• Practice: Mecanoo
  • Website:
  • Firm Location: Netherlands, New York
  • Country: USA, Netherlands
  • Year: 1984

(“Text as taken from the website”)

Francine Houben

Francine Houben is founding partner of Mecanoo (1984) and has led the firm to success in The Netherlands and abroad, amassing a portfolio of work that is wide-ranging, inspired by global challenges and with a sustainable view on society.

Mecanoo combines the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and interior design to produce unorthodox design solutions born from a strong sensitivity to context and a highly interdisciplinary design process.

Each of her projects illustrates the four fundamental elements of her architectural vision: People, Place, Purpose, Poetry.

Francine Houben was professor of mobility aesthetics at Delft University of Technology and taught at the universities of Harvard, Yale and Mendrisio. As curator of the First International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (2003), she brought the theme of the aesthetics of mobility to the forefront of international design consciousness.

Francine holds Honorary Fellowships of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and was granted lifelong membership to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin as well as receiving the International Honorary Fellow Award by the Architecture Institute of Taiwan.

In 2014 Francine was named Woman Architect of the Year by the Architects’ Journal and in November 2015 Queen Máxima of The Netherlands presented her with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize for her wide-ranging career. Francine was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Université de Mons, Belgium (2017) and the Utrecht University (2016).

In 2018 she received the BNA Kubus Award for her oeuvre; the International Prize, Prix des Femmes Architectes (2019) and distinguished with the TU Delft Alumnus of the Year (2020). In 2021 Mecanoo and Francine were presented with the European Prize for Architecture.

 Floris Overheul, Dick van Gameren

Practice Ideology

Mecanoo, officially founded in Delft in 1984, is made up of a highly multidisciplinary staff of creative professionals from 25 countries. The team includes architects, interior designers, urban planners, landscape architects as well as architectural technicians and support staff.

Mecanoo is led by Francine Houben (Creative Director & Founding Partner), Floris Overheul (Financial Director), Dick van Gameren (Design & Research Partner), and Partners/Architects Nuno Fontarra, Rick Splinter and Arne Lijbers.

Mecanoo has extensive experience designing and realising exceptional buildings which serve client ambitions while creating vibrant end-user spaces. Each project responds to our philosophy of People, Place and Purpose: to the client’s requirements and the user’s needs (People); the physical context, climate and culture (Place); and the current and predicted potential of a building’s function (Purpose).

The result is unique solutions for each varying situation, in which the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, landscape and interior combine in a non-traditional way. Over the years we have learned that functions inevitably change. Therefore, we must create buildings that are prepared for (un)predictable change.

Sustainability is an inherent aspect of our design approach, feeding into an ambition to create new identity in a world of globalization, resulting in inspiring and authentic places, socially relevant for people and communities.

Preoccupied not by a focus on form, but on process, consultation, context, urban scale and integrated sustainable design strategies, the practice creates culturally significant buildings with a human touch.

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