Francine Houben

Initials F.
Board Member of Society of Arts
Personal website


Francine Houben (born in 1955), the creative director of Mecanoo, is one of the few female architects of world renown. Houben has created a broad oeuvre, ranging from theatres, museums and libraries to neighbourhood housing and parks. She designed the largest library in Europe, located in Birmingham, UK.

Houben explained her views on architecture in the manifesto Compositie, Contrast, Complexiteit (2001). In Dutch Mountains (2011), she reports on her life as an international architect by discussing eight exceptional projects. Houben was professor of mobility aesthetics at Delft University of Technology and taught at Harvard University. She was the director/curator of the First International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. She has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin since 2010. She is the only Dutch person on the list of Britain’s 500 most influential people compiled by Debrett’s, which praises her unconventional approach to architecture.