Finding identity in a globalised world


Finding identity in a globalised world


About us

Mecanoo, officially founded in Delft in 1984, is made up of a highly multidisciplinary staff of creative professionals from 25 countries. The team includes architects, interior designers, urban planners, landscape architects as well as architectural technicians and support staff.

Mecanoo is led by Francine Houben (Creative Director & Founding Partner), Floris Overheul (Financial Director), Dick van Gameren (Design & Research Partner), and Partners/Architects Nuno Fontarra, Rick Splinter and Arne Lijbers.

Mecanoo has extensive experience designing and realising exceptional buildings which serve client ambitions while creating vibrant end-user spaces. Each project responds to our philosophy of People, Place and Purpose: to the client’s requirements and the user’s needs (People); the physical context, climate and culture (Place); and the current and predicted potential of a building’s function (Purpose).

The result is unique solutions for each varying situation, in which the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, landscape and interior combine in a non-traditional way. Over the years we have learned that functions inevitably change. Therefore, we must create buildings that are prepared for (un)predictable change.

Sustainability is an inherent aspect of our design approach, feeding into an ambition to create new identity in a world of globalization, resulting in inspiring and authentic places, socially relevant for people and communities.

Preoccupied not by a focus on form, but on process, consultation, context, urban scale and integrated sustainable design strategies, the practice creates culturally significant buildings with a human touch.

The world is in flux — swept up in climate change, ceaseless urbanisation, the digitisation of systems, knowledge and life, and global shifts in power, population and wealth.

We believe that our architecture can contribute to a better world, and we are passionate about solving complex challenges to create inspiring places for people.

Francine Houben
Creative Director/Founding Partner

Mecanoo was founded in 1984 by Francine Houben, Henk Döll, Roelf Steenhuis, Erick van Egeraat and Chris de Weijer. Since then Roelf (1989), Erick (1995), Chris (1999) and Henk (2003) have established their own practices.

Francine has since led the firm to success in The Netherlands and abroad, amassing a portfolio of work that is wide-ranging, inspired by global challenges and with a sustainable view on society.

"Architecture must appeal to all the senses. Architecture is never a purely intellectual, conceptual, or visual game alone. Architecture is about combining all the individual elements into a single concept. What counts in the end is the arrangement of form and emotion."

Francine bases her work on precise analysis coupled with an intuition built over three decades. She interweaves social, technical, playful and human aspects of space-making together in order to create a unique solution to each architectural challenge.

Francine Houben sees the team as a vibrant international ‘symphony orchestra’. Approaching a project with a versatile multidisciplinary team creates the opportunity to develop new ideas and integral concepts with everyone present at the table.

Francine Houben: "What's most important is the senses"

Francine Houben on why the human condition should be central to the future of design

Madame Architect: Francine Houben on Urban Renewal, Simple Values, Being Visionary

Letters from Lockdown: The future is about ‘forward to basics’.

Francine Houben about the coronavirus "We have to design walkable and bikeable cities"

Mevr. de Architect: "In het buitenland vinden ze me vaak 'fearless'" 

Architects, not Architecture: Francine Houben at Dezeen's Virtual Design Festival 

The Library Whisperer

AD Interviews: Francine Houben

Interview with Francine Houben CLAD MAG

Blueprint innovation: Francine Houben

"Libraries are the most important public buildings"