sector // prison
location // unspecified
year // 2021
stage // conceptual
award // arch8's honourable mention
The project rejects the heavy surveillance and inhumane living conditions of a conventional prison and instead adopts a soft panopticon approach where the watch tower doubles up as a lighthouse by the pier, and not solely for surveillance.
The architecture also promotes transparency by using semi-opaque materials as its envelope and a clear geography of spatial configuration to ensure that the inmates can also look after each other.
Also the floor where inmates reside where 50 cells (46 typical and 4 unique suites) are designed with private bed and bathroom, to ensure that inmates are kept humanely and treated with dignity. The cells are clustered into 3s and 4s with daylighting and ventilation considerations and each cluster is separated by either a vegetable garden or a mini-barn stall where farm animals are kept. The idea is to promote self-sufficiency where the inmates can harvest their own food and be given responsibilities to help them be in constant touch with nature and develop empathy.
There are also undefined common areas surrounding a centric void overlooking the public plaza below, where activities can take place, while inmates get to have a visual connection with what it is like to have freedom, and to not be totally fended-off from society.
The idea is to accentuate the prison's elevation by creating a sunken plaza where the monolithic structure of a prison does not feel as imposing when viewed afar. As one approaches and take the steps down onto the plaza, one would find trapezoidal structures acting as columns supporting each cluster above, having cut-outs to serve as pedestals where exhibits can be displayed, either organised by the prison or the public. The large centric void will act as a public domain where people are encouraged to carry out recreational and leisure activities to make this a meeting point for locals.