Maria Vittoria Monaco . Riccardo Miccoli
This work was born as the conclusion of a thesis project and it aims to design a new sociality space inside Verziano Prison, Italy. A place able to host the daily inmates activities related to consumption of food and common meal preparation, but also workshops and training courses. The lack of sociality spaces whitin italian penitentiary structures, forces the prisoners to use their few square meters cells as room, bathroom, kitchen at the same time. Our purpose is to increase sociality and treatment spaces, making them accessible to inmates during daylight hours. The project also involved the requalification of the green area: the perimetral concrete wall, main physical and visual limit, circumscribes a new outdoor path which connects an horticulture area, sports and affection areas.
Prison “walking yard” as a new sociality hub
Our project takes place inside Verziano Prison, in a sensitive way according to the specific site context, but it rapresents as well an opportunity of renovation for many other italian institutes, since the element of the walking yard is present in almost half of the national prisons. We mainteined the perimetral walls of this element as a symbol of the jail institution, working whitin it for a new result. The place we designed has a contrasting dialogue with the existing spaces (small and mostly concrete made), in fact it extends as a whole volume in a full height, out of prefabricated wood structure. This space is tought to have a wide inner flexibility, able to host prisoners daily activities which at the moment don’t find any specific location if not inside the personal cells.
Convivium: a participatory design process between inmates and external society.
It is important to remember that prison is a public space and although restricted by a concrete wall, internally is characterized to all intents and purposes as a microsociety with its rules and social dynamics. The project is the result of an accurate work carried out inside the penitentiary structure, with inmates cooperation, prison staff and non-profit associations. A participatory design process through workshops and meetings, allowed prisoners to deal again with the external society and made permeable the detention spaces to the free citizens. This has allowed us to design a project weighted on the real needs of users, aiming on providing a place in compliant with Law and able to offer an appropriate process of reintegration into society.
An applicable design for the detentive environment
Our project is designed to provide applicable solutions on a short, mid and long term, considering economic, legislative and temporal factors which deeply influence our penitentiary system. The difficulty to obtain permissions, as well as the long process schedule and reduced funding, lead us to organize the project in four main intervention phases in orderm to fragment execution costs and offer practical proposals which can be easly applied according to the penitentiary circumstances. Those intervention phases are indipendent from each other but play an important role into a whole renovation system. They also allowed the prison management commettee to choose the execution order of the project according to internal demands and economic availability.