This project began with the questions: How have different ideas about prisons been reflected in prison architecture over time? And how is that architecture, in turn, experienced by prisoners?
Prisons vary: in size, in level of security and regimes, in material conditions and facilities, in traditions and culture.
But they have some fundamental characteristics in common. They are about locking people up; they are run by authoritarian regimes; and they rely on control and in the end on solitary confinement.
Within these fundamentals, they also intend to rehabilitate prisoners.
This digital exhibition describes six generations of Norwegian prisons according to:
• official ideas about the purposes of prisons from 1850 through today
• architectural drawings, photos of sites, buildings and interiors. Timelines show frequencies and length of time that prisoners spend in sites for rehabilitation, isolation and control.
• social consequences of imprisonment described by prisoners’ experiences.