Michigan Studio: Reimagining Incarceration

Project icon

Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

In the United States, there are 2.3 million people incarcerated today and over 1,800 federal and state correctional facilities, forming a vast punitive network that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. The architecture of prisons is not intended for reform or behavioral change: it is built to warehouse as many people as possible. This is anti-design. A system gone awry. Where no building could keep up with the rate of change these spaces have experienced.

What would it mean, in America, to have spaces that represent our goals for pursuing justice? Places designed for recuperation, for restoration, for re-entry, and for reflection? What would an ideal work environment be for officers? And how would a space of healing look instead of a space of violence? If a reimagined facility is understood as a place of healing, could a prison itself be a catalyst in radical de-carceration? Could it lead to a healthier society for all of us?

MASS led a ‚ÄúReimagining Incarceration‚ÄĚ studio in Spring 2019. Taking the Queensboro Correctional Facility in Long Island City as a point of entry, this studio introduced how architects can co-design reimagined prison facilities with incarcerated residents. Students led workshops with residents to co-design the spaces they inhabited, supporting individual agency and bolstering collaborative skill sets.

Project Details

42.279594, -83.732124

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

Year: 2019

Status: Completed

Program: Studio Course

Services: Educational Services

University of Michigan
A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning