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  • Martina Biava, Mabastudio

The last form of Prison

An investigation of the forms of constraint.

The planning void that lies behind the penitentiary machine ensures that the culture of isolation and depersonalization prevails in prisons.

The research intends to propose an architectural redefinition of the prison structure, using segregation models that distance from the punitive function: the beguinage and The Certosa di Pavia.

A cataloguing of the building typologies allows the comparison of the changes of the forms of constraint and the spaces inside it. The search mainly focuses two themes, the relationship with the neighboring area (perimeter and open spaces) and the interior spaces (watches, services, cells).

Particular emphasis is given from the 1975, the penitentiary housebuilding turns into penitentiary architecture, the construction loses the typology with its functionalist identity and deforms itself according to the urban context and the comfort of the users.

The design experiment based on the typological and sociological analysis is located in Bergamo with the goal to covers a semi-detention prison which concludes the penitentiary pole. The guideline of the designing process of the building started from the will to morphologically contextualize the project and the intention to balance the individual life and the collective one combining the monastic aspect of the cells and the community one of the activity spaces.

The material solutions proposed is concerning the pragmatism and the low-costs characters of the prison. The roofing-paper, rough and cheap material covers all the volume of the building that gets a discrete and robust presence.

Sheets of asphalt protected by a thin layer of aluminum allows the entrance to find its proper relevance in the building naturally and makes it visible with its shiny look among the overall opacity.

architect: Martina Biava, mabastudio

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