Francine Houben Alumnus of the Year

Francine Houben Alumnus of the Year

Architect Francine Houben (b. 1955) has been appointed Alumnus of the Year, a prize that the Delft University Fund has awarded annually since 2011. The winners receive a plaque on the Alumni Walk of Fame in the Mekelpark.

In 1980, while studying, Houben and her fellow students founded the Mecanoo architecture firm. In alumni magazine Delft Outlook, which will soon be published, she looks back on that time. “It was a time of democratisation and urban renewal. Many architects went into politics. I also wanted to be part of that stream of democratisation and change, but through service-oriented design. So we founded our start-up, Mecanoo, long before the word start-up existed. It was an inspirational time. Even though there was a major economic crisis, we were so inspired we hardly noticed it. We focused on urban renewal, housing and public space, in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague.”

Through Mecanoo, Houben’s designs include the TU Delft Library and the Mekelpark. She is one of the few world-famous female architects. Her oeuvre ranges from theatres, museums and libraries to residential areas and parks. Birmingham is home to the largest library in Europe, which she designed.

Editor Tomas van Dijk

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