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People, Place, Purpose

Francine Houben
Mecanoo Delft

In the lecture “People, Place, Purpose”, Francine Houben will present her body of work that has been based on these three fundamental elements. She will share the stories behind Mecanoo’s high-profile designs that have been realised all over the world, like the Delft University of Technology Library and the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. Each design is founded on observation of people, location, culture and climate. The analysis amounts to designs that respond to current needs, yet which are also prepared for (un)predictable change.

Francine Houben is the founder and creative director of Mecanoo architecten. Her work ranges from theatres, museums and libraries to neighbourhoods, housing and parks. Currently, Francine is working on the renovation of the New York Public Library.

Selected works of Mecanoo include Delft University of Technology Library, Delft (1997), La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, Lleida, Spain (2008), Library of Birmingham, United Kingdom (2013), Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, Boston, United States (2015) and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Taiwan (to be opened in 2018).

 Francine Houben has held professorships in the Netherlands and abroad, currently holding a position as Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture. As curator of the First International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam in 2003, Francine brought the theme of the aesthetics of mobility to the forefront of international design consciousness. In 2010 Francine Houben was granted lifelong membership to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. She holds Honorary Doctorates from Utrecht University and Université de Mons.

Francine has gained international acclaim for her works. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands presented her the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for her entire oeuvre in 2015.