The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Lecturer and Alumnus Dr Jan Kattein Commended at RIBA Journal MacEwen Awards 2024

9 February 2024

Jan Kattein Architects is only the second recipient in the awards’ history to be commended for a lifetime body of work at the MacEwen Awards, which usually celebrate individual projects that represent architecture for the common good.

Aberfeldy Street high street regeneration, Poplar, Jan Kattein Architects

RIBA Journal’s annual MacEwen Awards were launched in 2016 and named after Anni and Malcolm MacEwen. Anni MacEwen was a pioneering urban planner with an emphasis on conservation-minded regeneration, and Malcolm MacEwen was a campaigning journalist and former RIBA Journal editor. The awards celebrate architecture with a greater purpose, highlighting individual projects across several categories which are defined by the judges each year in response to the submissions received. 

Thirteen projects were shortlisted, with Jan Kattein Architects’ project The Paper Garden (Canada Water, London) nominated in the ‘workplace and social enterprise’ category.

While the 2024 prize was ultimately awarded to Snug Architects, Dr Jan Kattein’s practice was commended as a ‘protagonist of a MacEwen-minded social architecture’. The judges made the unusual decision to commend the London-based practice for ‘a lifetime of architecture for the common good’, accompanying the commendation with a dedicated profile in the RIBA Journal this month (written by Bartlett alumna Isabelle Priest, who was tutored by Jan). The MacEwen Awards have only awarded a lifetime of work once before - former Bartlett tutor Peter Barber was similarly commended nine years ago for his holistic approach to social housing. Jan was tutored by Peter Barber during his own studies at The Bartlett, and later joined him as an employee at Peter Barber Architects.

Jan Kattein’s practice, based in Islington, focuses on civic projects in London and beyond. A collection of projects in north London, which recently netted him Building Design Magazine’s Social Value Architect of the Year award, address deprivation in urban communities, while his MacEwen-nominated Paper Garden development in Canada Water transformed a former industrial site into an educational building and ecology garden. In 2015 Jan and Julia King set Architecture BSc students in UG3 at The Bartlett a unique challenge. Working closely with environmental charity Global Generation, the students designed and built the King’s Cross Skip Garden – a temporary garden growing food and building community. His practice now employs several Bartlett graduates.

Commenting on the MacEwen commendation, Jan said,

I started my practice with the firm conviction that design can realise spatial, social and environmental objectives. Each of our projects embodies a mix of all three. Sometimes that makes our work three times as hard and that’s why it feels incredibly special to be recognised by the MacEwen Award. The work we do relies on trusting partners and colleagues who all share a commitment to contribute to the common good.”

Jan Kattein graduated from The Bartlett in 2002 and is the director of Jan Kattein Architects, which he founded in 2004. He and Gabriel Warshafsky, Director of Projects, both currently teach at The Bartlett. Gabriel graduated from The Bartlett in 2012 and teaches Design & Creative Practice within Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies BSc. Jan teaches Architecture and Engagement at The Bartlett, is a personal tutor and PhD supervisor, and completed his own PhD at The Bartlett in 2009. The practice also employs a number of other Bartlett alumni: Gareth Marriott, Alastair Johnson, Mary Konstantopoulou, Chrysanthe Staikopoulou (who has also led short courses at The Bartlett) and Corina Tuna.

More information

Lead image: Aberfeldy Street high street regeneration, Poplar, Jan Kattein Architects
Carousel images: All images by Jan Kattein Architects