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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Mas d’Enric Penitentiary in Tarragona, Spain by A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

 
April 6th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

The prison is an uncomfortable institution and its architecture is often subjugated to technocratic criteria. This servility forces the prison out of the sociocultural realm where it belongs, thus erasing it from public discourse. The invisibility of the penitentiary as an institution demonstrates an unresolved contradiction underlying contemporary society. We intend to explore this contradiction through architecture.

Aerial view : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura 

  • Architects: A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura
  • Project: Mas d’Enric Penitentiary
  • Location: Paratge Mas d’Enric, 43764 El Catllar, Catalonia, Spain
  • Developer: Generalitat de Catalunya, Justice Department
  • Concessionaire: Superficiària CP Mas d’Enric
  • Construction Company: COMSA-EMTE
  • Surface Area: 74.130 sqm (built) + 130.163 sqm (landscape and infrastructure)
  • Budget: 113.830.553 €
  • Construction: Desembre 2009-Abril 2012
  • Lead Architects: Roger Paez i Blanch (A i B estudi d’arquitectes SLP), Joan Maria Pascual i Cañellas (Estudi PSP Arquitectura SCP)

Residential blocks-1 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

A prison must respond to the demand for discipline (confinement) and liberty (reinsertion) at the same time. Within this complex framework, architecture can make use of its ability to synthetically articulate problems that seem contradictory to become an active agent in resolving the paradox of the contemporary penitentiary.

Central square-1 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Based on our experience with the Mas d’Enric penitentiary, we claim the prison as an object of critical design and we reclaim architecture’s role in multiplying possibilities as opposed to limiting them.

Central square-3 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Given very strict programmatic requirements, a series of decisions forges a link between the utilitarian and the conceptual: the construction of an appropriable, non-oppressive environment; the introduction of a maximum number of vectors of exteriority; and the  generation of open space that is central both formally and conceptually.

Central square-4 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Three keys aspects permeate the entire design process and serve as the conceptual horizons that articulate the project:

  • Totality: Tackling the problem of designing a total environment.
  • Vibration: Introducing spatial and perceptual diversity
  • Openness: Celebrating openness in the heart of detention.

Both typological and topological design strategies are central to the Mas d’Enric Penitentiary project.

Central square-5 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Typological: We aimed to move beyond conventional modern prison architecture by creating a revised mat-building: the prison is extensive in plan and low to the ground. Contiguity eliminates residual spaces between buildings. It also allows for organizational flexibility while generating exterior spaces in the form of courtyards on different scales.

Central square-9 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Topological: The topographical adaptation allows for a gentle integration with the terrain. It creates spatial variety while allowing for the absence of any kind of interior fencing. Distant views of the mountains are made possible by an articulation of the ground level. Views of the adjacent woodlands improve conditions in both the cells and the courtyards.

Central square-10 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

The continuity of the roof works on both a typological and topological level, creating morphological unity for the building and establishing relationships with the large scale of the landscape. The confinement required by the program is not monumentalized; on the contrary, the prison’s architecture faces up to the, perhaps impossible, challenge of creating a genuine home and hearth.

Cultural and sports facilities : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Visits and admission : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Reception and access-2 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Residential blocks-3 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Residential blocks-5 : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Security and administration : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Workshops : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Elevations : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Sections : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

SitePlan : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

Ground Floor Plan : Image courtesy A i B arquitectes + Estudi PSP Arquitectura

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Categories: Prison, Social Centre

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