Francine Houben (1955) began formulating the three fundamentals of her lifelong architectural vision while studying at the Technical University of Delft. She graduated cum laude in 1984 and officially founded Mecanoo architecten. Francine has remained true to her architectural vision, Composition, Contrast, Complexity throughout her career. Always looking for inspiration and the secret of a specific location, Francine bases her work on both analyses and intuition. She enjoys interweaving social, technical, playful and humane aspects together in order to form a unique solution to each situation. Francine Houben combines the disciplines of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture in a untraditional way; with sensitivity for light and beauty. Her use of material is expressive.
She is known as one of the most prolific architects in Europe today. Her wide-ranging portfolio comprises an intimate chapel built on the foundations of a former 19th century chapel in Rotterdam (2001) to Europe’s largest library in Birmingham (2013). Francine Houben’s work reveals a sensory aspect determined by form and space, a lavish use or subtle combinations of the most diverse materials, as well as planes of saturated colour. Francine was granted lifelong membership to the Akademie der Künste, Berlin in 2010.
In 2008, she received the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award. Fellowships to the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the Royal Institute of British Architects were granted to her in previous years.
The past three decades have seen her cumulative effect on the profession of architecture. Francine lectures all over the world and takes part as a jury member in prestigious competitions. Her commitment to research and education is evidenced in her instatement as professor in Architecture, Chair of Aesthetics of Mobility at the Delft University of Technology (2000), her professorship at the Universitá della Svizzera Italiania, Accademia di architettura, Switzerland (2000) and her appointment as visiting professor at Harvard (2007).
Lifetime Achievement Award
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize [ > read more ] "Francine Houben’s buildings are rare examples of a people-centric architecture which is consistent with the local culture. As creative director of Mecanoo, she is considered one of the most influential architects of the moment. She brings together urbanism, landscape, architecture, restoration and interior design in a coherent way."
Woman Architect of the Year The Architects' Journal