> A New Prison for New People

Nowadays there are a lot of architectural competitions that often bring us impressive proposals. Some years ago, to impress meant to construct higher; but with the recent technological progress, the concept became more and more important. Therefore 499.SUMMIT is a great example of how we may rethink the function of a building. Greg Knobloch and Andreas Tjeldflaat, students at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, proposed a possible solution to the high recidivism rates in New Jersey. The main idea is to turn the usual low-rise prisons into skyscrapers, in order to improve their sociological impact. It is easy to accept it if we think that we can better integrate a prison in a city center, or that a high-rise prison rejects oppressive walls. However the concept of 499.SUMMIT is more complex...

"The massing consists of three towers in the shape of an arch. The inherent linear and formal qualities of the ‘arch’ allowed us to establish our key circulatory concept: UP, OVER, DOWN. Each arch has three primary phases, Incarceration (up), Transformation (over), and Integration (down). The arches begin isolated during the incarceration phase and merge together both physically and programmatically during the integration phase. As the inmates graduate through the facility, they are being exposed to an increasing degree of social interaction, in order to make the transition back into society as soft as possible. To catalyst this process, public program and residential housing units are introduced in the integration phase downwards."

(more info and images here)
(video about 499.SUMMIT)

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