“The fundamental question facing society is whether we see prisons as warehouse to store the incorrigible or greenhouses to restore the redeemable.“ The Bishop of Liverpool, BBC Radio 4.
My project focuses on the architecture of empowerment within the typology of control: the Prison.
In recognising the balance between power (control) and empowerment (education) that must exist in a
prison my project starts to address the issue of reform by enabling an architecture that above all supports learning and personal wellbeing.
Theoretically, the aim of the project is to readdress the balance between education and punishment in a building typology that has remained unchanged for centuries. Research states that two thirds of prisoners re-offend within two years of release. This statistic proves that the prison system is failing both prisoners and taxpayers “at an annual cost of more than £11bn.”
The success of a prison is reliant on its inhabitants learning to change for the better, yet the dehumanising effects of the architecture undermine most human efforts of support. My project re-forms the physical structure of the prison, breaking in up into the domestic scale, and in doing so becomes an exercise in master planning and urban design. Spaces for living, learning and working typically separated in the ‘real world’ have, in prison, merged under one roof and my project plans to reverse this.
Essentially my design aims to set a new standard in prison design, where value for money extends beyond the cost of construction, maintenance and management and takes into consideration prison re-admissions and the crime rate.