Francine Houben delivers the 2011 Eleanore Pettersen Lecture

POSTED ON: December 15, 2011

Francine Houben

Francine Houben, Creative Director and Founding Architect of the Dutch firm Mecanoo, delivered the 2011 Eleanore Pettersen Lecture. Houben discussed her office’s present work as well as delving into her own design philosophy. The concluding Q&A with Annabelle Selldorf, which drew out further project details and anecdotes, was followed by a reception hosted by the School of Architecture in the Peter Cooper Suite.

This series was established in honor of Cooper Union alumna Eleanore Pettersen, who attended evening courses at the school from 1937 to 1941. Dedicated to the voices of women in architecture, the lectures are a lasting tribute to Ms. Pettersen, her significant impact in the world of architecture, and her love of The Cooper Union.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.