Francine Houben! (born 2 July 1955)
Francine is architect-director and one of the founders of Mecanoo architects in Delft. She belongs to the Dutch architecture movement Superdutch. Mecanoo has grown into a firm with world fame. The list of projects is immense, but I will pick out two here. One ‘local’ project, Villa Industria in Hilversum, and one international: the National Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2018).
National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts
Inspired by the local Banyan trees with their iconic crowns, the vast, undulating structure is composed of a skin and roof, and connects an extensive range of functions. The curved steel structure was built in cooperation between a local and a Dutch shipbuilder. Underneath this roof is Banyan Plaza, a generous, sheltered public space. Residents can wander through here day and night, practice Tai Chi or stage street performances along walkways and in informal spaces. An open-air theatre nestles on the roof where the structure curves to the ground, with the surrounding park forming the stage.
Villa Industria Silo’s
The Gasholders are robust masonry towers of 8, 10 and 12 layers high. They are surrounded by a steel frame that carries the balconies. The steel frame creates 3 cylindrical residential buildings, and refers to the old gasometers which once stood on the site. The steel structure consists of round steel tubular profiles, which are arranged in a circular pattern around the square apartment buildings. An additional advantage of this steel construction is that it provides the flats with enormous balconies. As a result, the flats were sold very quickly!
About the Author:
Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.