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Even though the client, not architects, determine the program for prisons, Raphael Sperry argues that just as prison doctors refuse to participate in execution so prison architects can refuse to be party to torture, and in doing so, can show leadership in a rethinking of incarceration.

Solitary confinement can be imposed in any prison but it is specifically designed into Supermax prisons, most notoriously Pelican Bay. DnA contacted the architects of Pelican Bay and the designers of some Supermax prisons but did not hear back. We did however talk with Beverly Prior, president of HMC and Beverly Prior Architects in San Francisco. In the early part of her career she worked on California prison projects; now she focuses on juvenile and adult detention facilities at the county level.

Another architect who has also looked at prisons is LA-based Joe Day. But his perspective is an unusual one, and has resulted in a fascinating book called Corrections and Collections: Architectures for Art and Crime.




Frances Anderton