Words:
Jan Kattein

Jan Kattein, director at Jan Kattein Architects, gives us three of his specification favourites

Oriented Strand Board

At our project Switchboard Studios in east London we lined the interior of the workspaces with Oriented Strand Board (OSB). This is made from cross-laminated wood fibres fused together with a resin/wax compound under pressure, using up to 90% of the raw timber. Even small trees – often from forest thinning – can be used. OSB is used for roofing and temporary hoardings, but is underrated for its visual appeal. I enjoy the textured surface and the warm hue of the wood fibres. There is an honesty about its appearance with the structural properties of the wood fibres manifest on the surface.

 

Mineral paints

Working in High Road Leyton we specified mineral paints for some 20 high street frontages. Six years after we completed the works, the facades look every bit as colourful as on the day when they were painted. We have never looked back and have used mineral paints for 28 other high street regeneration projects since. There are four distinct advantages. Mineral paints don’t attract atmospheric pollution in the same way that acrylic paints do, they are more sustainable, the pigments have greater light stability and they allow the building to breathe – all that one would ever want from a facade coating.

 

Linoleum 

It’s hard to dissociate linoleum from memories of daycare centre receptions and primary school corridors. Yet we have long departed from the gaudy marbled colour ranges that blemished our relationship with this wonderful material and I specified it recently for a residential project. The material is made from wood by-products – pine resin bonded with solidified linseed oil to a canvas backing. Some of the great advantages of Linoleum are that it can be repaired, if properly installed it’s water resistant and has natural anti-bacterial properties.

 

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