vertical prison vertical prison
mar 08, 2010

vertical prison

vertical prison by chow khoon toong, ong tien yee and beh ssi cze

evolvo magazine today announced the winners of the 2010 skyscraper competition. first place went to malaysian architectural students chow khoon toong, ong tien yee and beh ssi cze.

studies on prison sentence reveals that post-release offenses were higher after imprisonment. taking criminals out of community and incarcerating them is just a temporary solution. during their time in prison, inmates resocialize into a prison community or rather a crime community instead of rehabilitation; eventually return to the path of crime. the majority of offenses committed are lesser crimes, and these offenders are those with higher chances of rehabilitation.

community too plays a role in helping ex-convicts in their rehabilitation process. yet there is a social stigma towards ex-convicts. in the end, rejections and scorns forced them to go back into the way of crime.

rehabilitation essentially involves both the offenders and community. to achieve this, we propose a prison where the criminals are taken off the street to a place within that community and while serving their sentences, they continuously contribute to that particular community yet remain separated; a vertical prison.

design to separate – a prison without wall the purpose of a prison is to isolate the inmates from society and a prison needs a barrier to do so. a vertical prison does so without a wall, instead it isolates the inmates through height, where jumping off the prison is the only option.

mobility and enforcement similar to the city below, the colony has its own transportation system which allows for law enforcement and other support system such as fire rescue and medevec to be provided by the means of mobile pods. in a riot situation, the armored riot control pod with fast roping capability allow for rapid deployment of riot control team while the armored riot control pod serve as a mobile operation base and observation platform to control and monitor the situation from above. meanwhile, the fire rescue and the medevec pods will move in to provide fire fighting, evacuation and medical support.

a parallel world the inmates will live in a parallel world with the surrounding. they know, see and hear everything that happen in the city, yet isolated by the height. it is similar to penal deportation to a colony above city. in this colony, the inmates work to sustain themselves and support the city below. they live freely in the colony and the city continues to have impact to their life. in the end, it is hoped that they can adapt more easily back into the society.

the relationship between prison and the city in vertical prison system while serving their sentence, the inmates will work to help support the needs of the community, in a way of paying back to the society. each prison is unique to its own context. in a city, inmates undertake agriculture activities to help feed the city or in an industrial area, the inmates help manage and reprocess waste to help the environment.

gradually the tension between safe and unsafe will shift to understanding and eventually the prison will become part of the community. it is hoped that through this symbiotic relationship, the social stigma of a prison would be softened and the society will be more in acceptance of the inmates, giving them a second chance for themselves and also giving society a second chance.

  • stupid!

    G-Mo says:
  • really high-concept!

    whiz says:
  • The idea sounds good, but have you already thought of the costs of having people floating?

    How are the building going to be supported?

    l8l8 says:
  • This would be great, had it not been for the invention of the parachute.

    Ola says:
  • great design.

    but in brasil it would rain people.

    but I repeat it is great and can work in the firstworld.

    sobanski says:
  • absurd….why would anyone, not in prison, want a prison blocking their sunlight or view of the sky?

    jb says:
  • hurm..interesting idea.. but the design should be not as a trademark or landmark..because thats building is for criminal desplacement…hurm..why not just built below the earth..so they can feel like death person..haha just my idea..like a zaha hadid concept of highrise under earth..

    tuan salam says:
  • The main idea — a prizon that mirrors society so criminals can practice being productive citizens — is genius. That it floats is just optics. It could be adjacent, or re tuan salam underground, or undersea — doesn’t matter.

    Tom P says:
  • If this is the vision of the future for mankind, let’s end it all now. Here with the seven beasts!

    jim says:
  • Are you serious!? prisons in the sky!?
    It seems we are building a penthouse with a city view rather than a prison cell!
    I don’t know ifthe idea is naif or just absurd.

    HOHENHEIM says:
  • The only reason you would build in the sky is a shortage of space on the ground. Obviously this scenario is likely to happen in a densely populated area.
    In many SF novels the priveleged live in the sky and the scumbacks in the lower regions. In between of course you will have the commoners. I think that makes more sense than this proposal.

    Airborn says:
  • Needs lateral bracing.

    testpress says:
  • from the first picture, it looks like the intent was to have the prisoners inhale fumes directly from the factory’s stacks thereby decreasing the criminal population.. ingenious!

    V says:
  • it would ruin the skylines, and the property below. Guy 1: “Where do you live again”
    Guy 2: “Under the prison, that’s why my skin is so pale and my houseplants can’t grow.”

    tman says:
  • While the concept of prisons working to support the city they are incarcerated in is a good one, I agree that having it “float” above the city might not be the greatest idea, property values of the area around the prisons would no doubt plummet, that is if it would even be safe to build a floating building. To have the height be a sufficient barrier it’d have to be at least 50 feet high, and far enough away from other buildings that a prisoner couldn’t, say, break a window/get to the roof and throw a rope to another building and climb out. Or make a rope out of sheets and climb down.

    I don’t know, while it’s certainly an interesting concept I think it needs a lot of work.

    Gwen says:
  • This is absurd. People do not want prisons and criminals in densely populated areas. Who would fund such an opulent place for people that need to be punished for their crimes? I certainly wouldn’t. The key to rehabilitation is not the highrise view of society, but programs in prison that are effective and vastly underfunded. Back to the drawing board you go….

    bv says:
  • Great design! If it is not a prison, it might be a fantastic new apartment design. Anyway I like it

    Jesty says:
  • Not Orwellian enough! Prisons on the moon, I say!

    Andy says:
  • there’s really no difference between this and, say, a riker’s island type facility, less than an hour from a densely populated city and staffed by underpaid public servants. this is the beginning of a great idea. by no means is it ready for serious proposal, but it IS on the right track.

    number nine says:
  • Nice…so it use to be prison guards that just had to worry about inmates throwing fecal matter…now the general population gets to worry about s*@t raining down on them, not to mention hammers, bricks, etc…

    dsadinsky says:
  • What about Vertical Homes? Sky scrapers etc…

    sonico says:
  • perfect, for stupid architects!
    when you gonna do something really important?

    rem koolhaass says:
  • Stop designing and building things that help people get locked up. It is greedy and counterproductive. Fewer prisoners and fewer prisons and fewer police and fewer laws. The quality of your design doesn’t even matter. Shame on you for supporting oppression and discrimination.

    your neighbor says:
  • KISS is appropriate term here. Cost effectiveness for starters. How appropriate to elevate the criminal – NOT d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • Great design but…it´s a joke right?

    Saza says:
  • I don’t understand prisons like penthouse that’s absurd and it’s ugly

    nika says:
  • evolvo? “one more” magazine celebrating stupid things designed by retards!!!
    and desigboom, please rethink your “curating strategy”. or you also believe its a relevant design?

    eu says:
  • Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Leaving offensive comments don’t make you a better person!!! If you have something critical to say, you should actually respond with your reasonings!!!

    Personally, I think the whole competition is quite interesting. Sure this particular entry is a little bit far fetched, but it’s obviously also generated a lot of discussion which says something about the project. It’s kind of a utopian vision. Obviously, further research needs to be made in how to make this vertical prison an ideal place for the rehabilitation for ex-convicts, but I think it definitely has potential. Everyone needs to dream a little!

    Ben says:
  • dream a little? in the jail? you can try!
    so, oppression, discrimination and control are now the “utopia”?
    sorry but it’s not a utopia vision! it’s perverse, and ultimately naif designs from authoritarian countries.
    its crazy…magazines and blogs with reputation supporting and publicizing this kind of thing! why?

    eu says:
  • Who would like to live under it ? Not me.
    In the beginning of xx century Bentham designed the Panopticom to be a prison and the watching idea was adapted to many working places. This idea looks worse… like slaves watching free people and working for them.I fear that some bad oart of it will also be adopted.
    Education is the only possible effective form for resocialization.

    celeste raposo says:
  • eu, I agree with you and understand where you’re coming from in terms of this whole ‘utopia’ business.
    We definitely should not be advocating oppression or discrimination.

    But maybe it’s ‘okay’ to just imagine what things could be like?
    ‘Utopian’ in the sense that, in an ideal world where things would perfect, we wouldn’t have to worry
    about even having to design a prison because there would be no crime…
    but, since we don’t, why not imagine something unconventional?
    Not everything has to be serious all the time, does it?
    This is obviously a concept and it must have won in part because of its creative merit
    and it definitely does redefine the function of the skyscraper.
    ‘Sky’s the limit’, right?!

    Aleks Hanover says:
  • creative merit ? joke

    mo says:
  • The basic idea is good, but why must this thing look so f*****g ugly. Like a kid that built a LEGO tower …

    JJ says:

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