Francine Houben

Creative Director & Architect

Mecanoo · The Netherlands

Francine Houben (the Netherlands, 1955) is Founding Partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo. Her work ranges from theatres, museums and libraries to neighbourhoods, housing and parks. Each design is founded on the observations of people, location, culture and climate. This analysis amounts to designs that respond to current needs yet are also prepared for unpredictable change.


Francine Houben was professor of mobility aesthetics at Delft University of Technology and also 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.


In 2018 Francine 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.


Selected works include Delft University of Technology Library, Delft (1998), La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, Lleida, Spain (2008), Library of Birmingham, United Kingdom (2013), National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, Taiwan (2018) and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, United States (2020). New York Public Library’s former Mid-Manhattan Library reopened June 1, 2021 as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, while renovations continue at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building officially completing the Midtown Campus masterplan.


Portrait: ©Mark Uyl