Jane Sitza interviewed Francine Houben for FRAME magazine’s special feature on learning spaces, published in January 2017. The article reflects on the local differences between the libraries in Mecanoo’s portfolio, such as the Delft University of Technology Library, the Library of Birmingham, and ongoing projects like the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC and the Tainan Public Library. Moreover, the article looks at learning environments in a broader perspective, taking into account the impact of technology on learning spaces.
When asked about the increase in the overlap between libraries, campus buildings and offices, Francine says that “[a]s a company today, you want to attract good people who keep developing, so even the office needs to become a learning environment. Our Rabobank Knowledge Centre in Sittard looks almost like a library or lecture hall. It has an auditorium-like space with terraced seating, for example. We created different atmospheres for working alone or together. Even though people can work at home, they prefer to be in the office. I’m very proud of that.”
The article concludes with a list of what Francine considers to be the eight key factors for learning environments, ranging from adaptability and malleability to providing direct connections with outdoor spaces.
Read the full interview in FRAME #114
Photography by Cindy Baar.
Learn more about her work at www.quitebuttery.com