How architecture is about people, place, purpose and poetry

In 1984, architect-in-training Francine Houben and two Delft University of Technology student colleagues won a competition to design youth housing at Kruisplein in Rotterdam. The project marked a turning point in Dutch social housing, which was then mainly oriented towards family units. The design was a demonstration of urban regeneration in public housing without compromising high architectural standards. “Social housing can – no, must – also be beautiful. The city and its inhabitants should be proud of it,” Ms Houben says.

The students founded global architecture firm Mecanoo Architecten. Today the firm is made up of diverse creative professionals from more than 25 countries with expertise ranging from interior design, architecture, urban planning to landscape architecture. “I like to compare Mecanoo to a symphony orchestra,” she says.

Image source: UNSW Sydney