Alsop in Prison

As if I needed more of a reason to love Will Alsop, this from today’s Guardian:

    The architect Will Alsop is helping a group of prisoners to design their own jail.

    Alsop will run a series of workshops with the staff and long-term prisoners at HMP Gartree, Leicestershire, this autumn. Participants will be encouraged to visualise a “creative prison” that emphasises rehabilitation rather than punishment and security.

Unfortunately, it appears the the project is currently only a conceptual exercise – with prisoners constructing a 3D model of their um…final project.

1 reply on “Alsop in Prison”

“The ideal prison, Alsop says, would give its inhabitants a sense of self-respect and would speed their reintegration into society.”

It sounds like an interesting studio, but pretty vague. An “ideal prison” is more likely a contradiction in terms. It is proven more effective to building self respect and speeding reintegration into society by actually engaging them with society through community service rather than isolating them the duration of their punishment, no matter what kind of oasis you allow them to create for themselves there.

After reading this article (,11026,1511510,00.html) and not knowing the prison population in the UK beforehand, I would strongly urge UK officials to find alternative preventive solutions to prison construction, have Alsop explore more community service programming in relation to prisons. There is a national boycott for architects ( here now to call attention to the fact that we have way too many prisons already, and the role of the architect may be more wisely reconsidered. As nice as it may be to incorporate inmate input into the design process, don’t let that overlook the question of whether prisons are obscolete, and whether we should be contributing to a non-solution like modern cages at all.

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