Doing Time : Redefining the meaning of a prison
86530 SPR 2018 Spatial Agency

The John Morony Correctional Complex is located in Western Sydney, near Windsor. The complex houses approximately 440 inmates of which 95% are awaiting sentencing. The length of stay for the inmates can  be from a couple of weeks and possibly up to one year. This is the type of correctional facility where people transition through it giving it an unsettled feel. The Client, Corrective Services NSW, has aspirations to redefine some of the functions in the centre. They recognise that the inmates situations are often due to coming from lower socio-economic, and dysfunctional backgrounds, some of it being multigenerational.  The client has an aspiration to redefine parts of the prison to disrupt this cycle by focussing on environments that may have the ability to heal.

Students will be able to select from one or a number of programmes within the prison identified by the client. Some are more challenging than others:

  • Family visits centre
  • The ‘yards’ and the connection with the living quarters
  • A ‘community’ garden and associated infrastructure
  • Segregation cells

This studio provides students an opportunity to engage with a real project and client group. You will be interviewing staff and inmates as part of your research and presenting your work as an expression of a shared ‘spatial agency’ between these groups. Information gathered from the interviews has to be underpinned by readings to arrive at a theoretical position to inform your design. It is critical that this is established in the first assessment, along with case study analysis, before embarking on a design intervention.

We will explore the spaces of confinement and healing and discover principles of environmental psychology to develop a deep understanding of the relationship between society, people, and the built environment.