Imraan J. Smith
R E – I N T E G R A T E
Architecture can have an impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, while also being the driving force for how we conduct ourselves and move between places in our daily routines. It is a factor for how we live and connect to society. But there are certain types of architecture that are known for creating a division, a clear line between freedom and isolation.
The prison, a place most view as a form of punishment and retribution… Thus, what has been portrayed as in history for years. But as civilisation progresses, so does its architecture. As a society, retribution and vengeance is becoming more of a thing of the past. To progress as a society, people need to be there contributing to it. For people to be a part of society, they must be helped and welcomed back instead of cast out into a depressive isolation.
Enclosure is a form Isolation and being isolated from society can be consequential to the progression of oneself. Prison is a place for rehabilitation… and for people to progress into something better, they must be shown how to. Architecture can be used to influence better living conditions and to reduce isolation from society, and when people are still engaged to society, they can still contribute to it. Being imprisoned with the relinquishment of freedom is the punishment; the architecture does not have to be. It can play a role in helping the imprisoned get back on their feet and self-improve. Human and outside connection is vital for our everyday life; therefore, it should remain in even the most isolated buildings. If we are to subject people to suffer for years in terrible living conditions, how can we be sure that they will be ready to return to normal life?
My idea is to focus on the connectivity with nature and rehabilitation, using natural materials to create a non-confrontational prison that helps people recover and move on from their past. This will be a prison for the final five years of an Inmates sentence, to prepare them with the necessary skills and education to be reintegrated into society. A Prison University…
My project is the design of a humane prison that focuses on an inmates final 5 years to help them through the stages of Reconnecting with society/ Integration, education and
rehabilitation. Prisons in Glasgow like HMP Barlinnie (left side of top picture), have detrimental impacts on it’s inmates, having serious affects on their mental health. This has been an influencing factor for turning it’s residents to the usage and abuse of drugs.
My main architectural drive is that it eliminates the feeling of isolation by reconnecting people with people, greenspace and natural materials like earth and wood – built to last.
My project manifesto focuses on 5 main points;
REHABILITTION – To help residents become their best selves.
RE-CONNECTIVITY – To have accessibility to people, nature and society as a whole.
THRESHOLD – To hold architecture at the human scale and to avoid oversized buildings that warehouses its residents.
ENCLOSURE – to reduce overall enclosure for residents mental health, but to maintain healthy and necessary boundaries for ethical incarceration for privacy and public access.
NATURAL MATERIALITY – To use Rammed Earth and Timber for the main primary construction. Materials than can be locally sourced, organic, recyclable and durable.
The design integrates locally sourced earth, with the construction of both unstabilized Rammed Earth for the interior, and weather protected stabilised Rammed Earth on the exterior. Although a slight portion of cement and waterproofing agents are used for the exterior durability, the design still cuts out a lot of harmful materials that are responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gasses produced by the
construction industry every year. Due to the design being protected for the west coast of Scotland’s
weather, it sustains itself in the long run to ensure minimal maintenance is required.
Timber construction is also utilised for structural elements like joists, timber frame kit, and glulam beams/columns, in order of preventing the need for concrete columns and slabs for long spanning areas. Wood is also used in some of the designs cladding and opening frames like windows and doors. Cutting down on aluminium and plastic.