The Architect's Dilemma: A Self Reflection in Understanding Prison Design and Construction in Private Prison Projects

Giustina Consoli


Abstract

Australia embarked upon a number of private prison projects during the 1990's. These projects involved the competitive bidding for prison projects by consortia, which generally consisted of a correctional operator, contractor and architect. The architect's role in such projects was to satisfy the needs and desires of the operator, contractor and government assessors.As a result, the architect became acritical element in the successful delivery of the prison projects.Intensive interviews with such architects have shown that a number of issues were experienced as a result of their inclusion in the projects.These architects reported: (a) uncertainty in undertaking large specialist projects,(b) grappling with their own expectations and those of other participating parties as to the role of the prison architect, (c) a desire to acquire a working knowledge of the philosophies of incarceration and prison design and construction, and (d) difficulties in working within an environment where suspicions were raised in regards to conflicting and underlying objectives of the operators and contractors.

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