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Architectural Design Studio 3 (ARCH 382) Spring 2019: Detaining Dissonance
Architectural Design Studio 3 (ARCH 382) Spring 2019: Detaining Dissonance

In 2019, citing concerns for the inhumane treatment of high profile political prisoners in their home countries, the United Nations announced plans to fund and commission a number of prisons specifically for the housing of political dissidents. The UN has mandated that these prisons must treat the prisoners with dignity and be oriented towards rehabilitation, rather than punishment, as recent prison design in Germany and Scandinavia has done.
As architects, the topic of prison design has long been a contentious one. In fact, declining to take part in the design of prisons has been the general operating principle of many professional architectural organizations of late. Yet, prisons continue to be designed and built, along the lines of outmoded thinking, and prisoners continue to suffer. Furthermore, as un-rehabilitated prisoners reenter society, society at large suffers. Rather than continue to sit on the sidelines, the isolationism of the architectural profession is giving way to an active, critical, and ultimately affirmative engagement. What better way to reform the prison system than to actively work to design better prisons?