The Office

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

The company is led by creative director/founding partner, Francine Houben, design and research director/partner Dick van Gameren, technical director Friso van der Steen, and financial director Peter Haasbroek.

The extensive collective experience, gained over three decades, results in designs that are realised with technical expertise and great attention to detail. Mecanoo’s projects range from single houses to complete neighbourhoods and skyscrapers, cities and polders, schools, theatres and libraries, hotels, museums, and even a chapel. 

Discovering unexpected solutions for the specifics of programme and context is the foremost challenge in all of our assignments. Each design is considered in terms of its cultural setting, place and time. As such, Mecanoo treats each project as a unique design statement embedded within its context and orchestrated specifically for the people who use it.

Within the practice are knowledge centres which enable us to stay current on technological and design innovations in sustainability, eco-engineering, technology, education and learning, high-rise and mobility. 

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.


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

Francine Houben, Architect/Urbanist

"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 Houben (b. 1955) began to formulate the three fundamental concepts of her architectural vision whilst studying at the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. Designing primarily for People, constructing spaces that are relevant to Place, and forging connections that give a building Purpose have remained consistent, underlying values to Mecanoo’s practice over the past three decades.

Always seeking inspiration in the details of specific sites and locations, 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 combines the disciplines of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture in an untraditional way, with a profound sensitivity for light and beauty. Her use of materials, which often contrast in a complementary way, are the sum total of her creative expression.