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What qualities can an architect bring to the construction of a detention facility?
Can the separation between two worlds; one exterior and free, the other interior and constrained, lead to anything other than a system of power and control?
We believe that by exploiting the notion of interiority a quality of space and life can emerge. An interiority which, by its richness and complexity, could become a form of urbanity.
Who are we working for? For the punisher or the punished?
The requirements of the authorities – security and rehabilitation – are clear. Understanding the needs of the person in confinement is more delicate.
We believe that the main quality a detention facility can bring to its prisoners is psychological space. That is space which creates the backdrop for the rest and development which is at the heart of rehabilitation.
The project is formed from three parts :
- A densely planted zone which separates the detention centre from its context and in which the perimeter wall is located.
- A continuous interior zone articulated in different types of spaces - corridor, plaza, activity area etc.
- Three courtyards; which act as three centres of gravity, around which the different programs are grouped.
The project is not hierarchical. It is an additive volume of different typologies which are almost all the same height. However, the volume of the sports hall, which is at the centre of the rehabilitation work of the detainees, is clearly visible from outside.

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