In response to the honor, Francine Houben stated:“I feel privileged to be a woman, to be a mother and to be an architect, which was not always an easy combination. [...] I strongly believe that architecture is about teamwork, about being visionary and supportive at the same time. Women are especially good at that.”
More on Francine Houben, after the break…
The firm was founded in 1984 after Francine and a group of fellow students at the Delft University of Technology won a competition for a social housing complex. Since then the firm has developed a unique language with a special focus on the expression of materials, a strong relation with context, technical expertise, and the precise resolution of details, as can be seen in the TU Delft Library, the La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, the Montevideo Building, and the recently opened Birmingham Library, currently the largest library in Europe.
The firm’s logo, a falling diver ”represents a free spirit and unlimited creativity” according to @Mecanoo__.
In this interview Francine explains the challenges of designing a library, a program currently undergoing quick and constant evolution, and shares her experience running the practice.
Currently, the firm is directed by Francine and technical director Aart Fransen, joined by partners Francesco Veenstra (watch Mies.UK interview), Ellen van der Wal, Paul Ketelaars and Dick van Gameren. Mecanoo has projects under construction all around the world, including the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung (Taiwan, see watch construction video), the Dudley Municipal Center in Boston (USA) and the Shenzhen Cultural Center (China).
Projects by Mecanoo at ArchDaily:
Francesco Veenstra, one of six partners at the Dutch practice Mecanoo and Lead Architect on a number of major projects in the United Kingdom, recently spoke to Mies. UK about the practice’s approach to design and their unique take on sustainability. Having recently completed a major public building in Birmingham (which was put to the vote and won the AJ’s 2013 Building of the Year), and with more in the pipeline, the practice’s international outlook is growing. How has the practice’s design methodology and core ideas influenced this success? Read more after the break.
A team consisting of Mecanoo, Michael van Gessel, Delva Landscape Architects and Jojko Nawrocki Architekci has won a competition to design the Royal Lazienki Museum in Poland’s capital. The 1,800 square meter museum will be buried beneath a triangular, 2.5 hectare “Garden of the 21st Century” in Lazienki Park, one of Warsaw’s most popular cultural destinations. Michael van Gessel and Delva Landscape Architects will focus on the garden, while Mecanoo leads the museum’s design.
In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies’ only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library’s future spaces and services.
The ten firms that made the cut are:
Francine Houben of Mecanoo will present Dutch Mountains: People, Place, Purpose, a lecture on the design of the new Dudley Square Municipal Office Facility, as part of the Fall 2013 Student Lecture Series on September 25, 2013 in Cascieri Hall.
Francine Houben directs her Mecanoo team with the ambition to design buildings with a strong respect for context; physical, historical and environmental. In her lecture Dutch Mountains: People, place, purpose, she presents her vision and philosophy as well as the participatory planning and design process that is fundamental to her work. Houben guides you through Mecanoo’s increasingly international portfolio, which features the recently opened Library of Birmingham integrated with the REP Theatre in the UK, as well as the Wei-Wu-Ying Centre for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and the Dudley Municipal Offices in Boston – both currently under construction.
All three projects serve as catalysts for their respective cities and neighborhoods; however, Boston’s Dudley Square Municipal Center serves as a unique North American example of the reinvigoration of a community. With a long history of participatory planning and community engagement, Francine worked with Sasaki Associates, Boston’s Property & Construction Management, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, along with neighborhood efforts, to produce a building that binds this community together. This lecture will present key moments in the process which lead to design solutions.
More on the lecture, including a short documentary on the project after the break.
With Birmingham’s new public library opening last week, Mecanoo’s latest large-scale public building has received mixed reviews from critics in the UK. Check out the critical responses from Hugh Pearman, The Telegraph‘s Stephen Bayley, The Guardian‘s Oliver Wainwright, The Observer‘s Rowan Moore, and The Financial Times‘ Edwin Heathcote after the break…
Mecanoo architecten, in cooperation with local partner Cafer Bozkurt Architecture, shared with us their proposal, one of the competition’s three winning proposals, in an international design competition for Yenikapı Transfer Point and Archaeo-Park Area in Istanbul, Turkey. Yenikapı, ‘New Gate’, consists in a railroad and maritime transfer centre that connects Europe with Asia, as well as the inner city with the surrounding megapolis and the rest of the country. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architects: Mecanoo Architecten
Location: Texel, The Netherlands
Client: Maritiem & Jutters Museum, Oudeschild
Museum design: Kossmann.dejong, Amsterdam
Project management: ABC Management Groep, Assen
Builders: Pieters Bouwtechniek, Utrecht
Installations consultant: Peter Prins, Woerden
Contractors: Bouwcombinatie De Geus & Duin Bouwbedrijf, Broek op Langedijk
Installations: ITBB, Heerenveen
Project Area: 1,200 sqm
Project Year: 2010-2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Mecanoo
Hilton Worldwide and Schiphol Real Estate, Schiphol Group’s real estate subsidiary, have today signed an agreement to introduce a new landmark 433 guest room Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, to be designed by prominent Dutch architects, Mecanoo. The new cube-shaped building, which will feature rounded edges and a diamond-shaped façade with diagonal lines, has been designed with a view to it becoming an airport landmark. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Mecanoo + Royal Haskoning design team was recently announced as the winner for the realization of the new Eurojust headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. This design concept illustrates a strong connection with Eurojust’s neighbouring organisations, the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and Europol. The atmosphere of soft slopes and grassy vegetation is designed to sit within the lush surroundings of The Hague’s ‘Green Heart’. More images and architects’ description after the break.