Francine Houben is an outstanding Dutch architect. In 2014 Architects’ Journal named her a Woman Architect of the Year. In all Francine Houben's architectural and urban projects, continual attention is paid to landscape and the natural environment. These features have become essential and constitute the three key principles of Houben's architectural practice: attention to People and users of the area; examination of Place; taking into account the peculiarities of Purpose.
Houben achieved international recognition in 1998 when Mecanoo — the bureau she runs — designed the building for TU Delft library. The Montevideo residential skyscraper in Rotterdam harbor, Fifty Two Degrees (an 86-metre high tower) in Nijmegen, Birmingham library in the UK, the Rabobank building, arts center HOME in Manchester, Nelson Mandela Park in Amsterdam, La Llotja Theatre and conference centre in Lleida, Spain. At present, Ms. Houben is designing the reconstruction of the New York Public Library and Washington DC's Central Library — with designs made by Mies van der Rohe.
Francine Houben arranged and held the First Architectural Biennale in Rotterdam (IARB). The theme of the Biennale was "Mobility". Aside from this, Francine Houben is a member emeritus of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), and a life member of the Berlin Academy of Arts. In 2015, Queen Maxma of the Netherlands granted Francine Houben the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Award.