Francine Houben and Dick van Gameren, leading architects of Dutch multidisciplinary design firm Mecanoo, have been named to one of Europe’s most prestigious architecture awards after a banner year that has seen projects realized in major cities across the world.
The 37-year-old firm is this year’s winner of the annual European Prize for Architecture by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
Houben, Mecanoo's Creative Director and Founding Partner, and van Gameren, the firm's Design and Research Director/Partner, were named as laureates for their contributions to the design field that coincide with the firm’s guiding philosophy of “People, Place, and Purpose.”
“Mecanoo has shaped unique solutions for each varying situation, in which the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, landscape, and interior combine in a non-traditional way,” Chicago Athenaeum president Christian Narkiewicz-Laine said in an announcement. “Over the years, they have learned that functions inevitably change, requiring an amazing amount of creative flexibility and acute aesthetic dexterity in order to create buildings that are prepared for (un)predictable change.”
“Their projects are never demonstrative or imposing, but something familiar, useful, and beautiful, with the ability to quietly support the life that will take place within it,” he added. “By prioritizing the enrichment of human life through a lens of generosity and freedom of use, they are able to benefit the individual socially, ecologically and economically, aiding the evolution of a city.”
Previous winners of the prize include Henning Larsen, Manuelle Gautrand, and Bjarke Ingels. The prize will be presented to Houben and van Gamaren in a live ceremony from the foot of the Athens Acropolis that takes place on September 10th.
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