Since 2004 Jan Kattein Architects have become known for a range of innovative and award winning projects that are the result of a close collaboration between designers, occupiers and makers. Architecture is most interesting where the lived and the built coincide. Detailed engagement with the site and its social and physical context brings about spaces that are specific, functional, enjoyable and sometimes entertaining.
We think that every piece of architecture is also a piece of the city that needs to take account of the fluctuant context in which it exists, accommodating cultural, political and economic shifts, the cyclical nature of daytime and night-time activities and temporary and permanent spatial phenomena. Good architecture acts as a catalyst which empowers users to engage in their own spatial practice to bring about change long after the architect has left the site.
The practice has a varied portfolio with work in a range of sectors including housing, mixed use, small scale commercial, urban design, stage design, works to existing buildings and new-built. Our clients include developers, housing associations, local authorities, charities and opera houses. Innovation often occurs at the intersection between disciplines. Shifting stance fosters creative invention. Designing accross a number of fields gives us the unique ability to consider our projects at all scales; the urban when designing a single house; the detail of an individual shopfront when devising an urban strategy.
Sustainability is a major concern for us. We reject the notion of a fixed design-life-expectancy common in contemporary construction. For us sustainable architecture can accommodate the changing needs of its occupants, is adaptable, upgradeable and repairable.
Architecture is a collaborative process. This is reflected in the set-up of our studio. In 2007 we moved into a converted off-licence in Islington which combines design space with making space, social space and exhibition space in our shopfront gallery. An established working relationship with specialist consultants, designers, researchers, illustrators, specialist craftsmen and other architects means that ad-hoc skills exchange, formal collaborations or outsourcing of specialist work items contribute to the successful delivery of complex briefs. A close association with University College London has created a forum for the exchange of ideas and brings opportunities for cooperation and critical appraisal.