Library of the Technical University of Delft
Mecanoo, founded in 1984 by Francine Houben, is based in Delft in the Netherlands. The award-winning work of Mecanoo combines architecture, urban planning, and landscape design. Among their projects are: the La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, Lleida (2008), Business Innovation Centre FiftyTwoDegrees in Nijmegen (2007), Montevideo in Rotterdam (2005), the Library for the Technical University of Delft (1998) the Palace of Justice, Córdoba (2007-2011), the National Kaohsiung Performing Arts Center, Taiwan (2007-2012), and the Municipal Offices and Train Station, Delft (2006-2014).
Francine Houben, founding partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo, is Professor at the Delft University of Technology and was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 2007. She was Director of the first International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (2003). In 2008 she was awarded the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award.
Francine Houben commented: “We are excited to have been selected to design a Library integrated with the famous Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will become the social heart of the city. Mecanoo loves to create unforgettable collective spaces, inside and outside. We hope to create a people’s palace, warm and welcoming.”
Councillor Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With their creativity, vision, experience and international pedigree I believe Mecanoo are the perfect choice to help us deliver an innovative world-class building which the people of Birmingham can be truly proud of. Their enthusiasm and understanding for the project, coupled with a track record for delivering visually exciting yet practicable and user friendly buildings, really made them stand out.”
Mecanoo was selected from an international shortlist, which included Foster + Partners, Foreign Office Architects, Hopkins Architects, OMA, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Wilkinson Eyre.
The new development will bring together the Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham Rep (repeated) to create a major cultural center for the city. The development will provide state of the art facilities for the busiest public library in Europe, a new frontage for the theatre and a number of shared amenities, including a new medium-sized auditorium.
The Mecanoo Library of Birmingham team comprises: interior architects Merkx+Girod of Amsterdam, engineering firm Buro Happold of Birmingham, design manager Davis Langdon Schuman Smith of London en theatre consultants Theateradvies of Amsterdam.