Tag Archives: Architecture

Co-designing Intensive Learning Centres for NSW Maximum Security Prison

29 May



On the 2nd April a new Intensive Learning Centre facility was opened at Mid North Coast Correctional Centre that is the result of a unique collaboration between Corrective Services NSW and the Designing Out Crime research centre at the University of Technology, Sydney. The collaborative project was to design and construct a learning centre for 40 inmates that would operate under a therapeutic model within the context of NSW maximum security prison. The brief challenged designers to create a prefabricated and furnished design model which was secure, offered a 21century learning environment, inspired integration and rehabilitation and could be fabricated by inmates in Corrective Services Industries vocational training programs. The project followed a unique process of co-design and consultation with inmates, teachers, correctional centre management staff, and senior managers in CSNSW.  This process realized a facility with the following features:

  • Architecture and materials to create an aesthetic and functionality consistent with co-operative relationships between educators and students, enabling a capacity for problem solving, creativity and social interaction required in modern work environments.
  • A flexible model of classroom design to support dynamic learning that is scalable for differing audiences and activities.
  • Integrated technology to support education delivery and dynamic learning opportunities including smart boards, laptops and audio-visual equipment.
  • Designation and design of spaces to support Aboriginal learning styles and cross cultural discussion.
  • Designed-in capacity for customisation such as interchangeable art panels that allow each cohort to build ownership and establish connection with the environment.
  • Interlinked indoor and outdoor spaces that create a unique sense of community and connectedness in the correctional environment.
  • A secure facility that embeds all the standard security features while creating a safe environment through the use of an open-plan community aesthetic.

The Designing Out Crime team is currently undertaking a post occupancy evaluation to assess the performance of the design and Tasman Munro is undertaking a PhD looking at the design’s  impact on interaction within the space.

Tasman Munro – Industrial designer                  Kevin Bradley – Architect

Rohan Lulham – Psychologist                               Douglas Tomkin – Designer

Lucy Klippin – Designer                                         Jessica Wong – Designer










Disciplinary architecture: using prison design to optimise health and safety

3 Apr

disciplinary architecture


Niyi Awofeso


Architectures of control are deliberately or implicitly part and parcel of most prison designs.  Historically, disciplinary architecture has dominated the designs of prisons, in line with the emphasis of prisons on punishment and a narrowly defined version of rehabilitation focussed on penitence.  Recent trends in hospital design indicate the positive impact of health-promoting hospital architecture and art on patients’ health.  Consequently, humanistic and health-promoting architecture increasingly underpin contemporary prison designs in Western nations.  Although no formal evaluation of the impact of prison design on inmates yet is currently available, anecdotal evidence from Sweden, Denmark and Norway indicates that humanistic prison architecture has a positive impact on recidivism as well as the wellbeing of inmates and custodial officers.  The author of this presentation posits that all new prison design policies globally should include health impact assessments on prisoners and the immediate environment, and that prisons which are designed or remodelled with inmates’ health improvement as one of its objectives are more likely to achieve prisons’ holistic rehabilitation and health promoting functions.



Some Niyi’s related work:

Awofeso N. Disciplinary architecture: prison design and prisoners’ health. Hektoen International Journal, 2011; 3: 68-70. [http://www.hekint.org/Disciplinary_architecture.html]
Awofeso N. Unlocked potential: improving inmates’ health through prison architecture. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 2011; 7: 3 -9.