On Monday, 17 March 2008, Francine Houben (1955), director of Mecanoo architecten in Delft, the Netherlands, received the Prix Veuve Cliquot for businesswoman of the year 2008 from Maria van der Hoeven, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands. President of the jury is Mrs. Annemarie Jorritsma, Mayor of the city of Almere. Last year's recipient of this prestigious award was Marlies Dekkers.
This international award, circulated throughout 17 countries, was bestowed upon Francine Houben because of her entrepreneurship, vision, business and social influence and leadership. According to the jury report Francine Houben is one of the few woman architects who, with her office Mecanoo, has achieved worldwide prominence in the field of architecture. The jury praised Mecanoo's innovation, an example of which is Houben putting the theme aesthetics of mobility on the social agenda. She presented this theme for the first time during a lecture in 1998 from her position as a member of the VROM Council (Council for Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment).
Francine Houben is known for innovative designs with a special attention to context, materialization, detailing and sustainability. A recent example is the design for the National Kaohsiung Performing Arts Center in Taiwan which is inspired by Banyan trees on the site that has now become a cultural park.
Francine Houben: "I see this prize as not only an honour for myself and the Mecanoo team but also as recognition of the professionalism of the creative industry. My entrepreneurship was a necessity. I was bursting with ideas, energy and ambition. To fulfil all of these dreams, you need your own clients and consultants along with a strong multidisciplinary team that believes in you and together can build a professional organisation. This has become Mecanoo, eighty men and women strong."
Recent designs of Francine Houben/Mecanoo are:
- Palace of Justice, C