Female Prison / OOIIO Architecture

Courtesy of

Based on natural light, open spaces and greenery such as peat, grass and flowers, the proposal by OOIIO Architecture for the Female Prison in dismisses the dark spaces, small cells and grey concrete walls typical of a traditional prison. The construction will be economical and efficient while not giving off the appearance of a typical penitentiary and increasing a sense of freedom. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of OOIIO Architecture

The project started with the team asking people who live and work in the establishments what it felt like. The conclusion was that the worst thing about living in a correctional facility is the feeling that you are actually in one. Instead of containing the functions in a singular building, this breaks into several tiny and more human scaled pavilions. The program is complex, similar to a small village, with a hospital, schools, church and theater, all working precisely at the same time.

Courtesy of OOIIO Architecture

The structure hosts three different types of inhabitants: prisoners, workers and occasional visitors. each of the users have a very specific circulation and area where they can or cannot reside in. The design resembles the cogs of a large watch, a building like a gear assembly, were all the pieces must be on the right place to make it efficient and functional, but with the best possible relation to natural light and exterior views.

Courtesy of OOIIO Architecture

The system of prefabricated concrete panels will allow everything to be built on a short time line, with low carbon emissions. covering the building with a thick peat layer, a vernacular design typical of Iceland, will let grass to grow over the structure to capture a natural facade. It will generate an ecological isolation method needed for the harsh weather of the country.

Courtesy of OOIIO Architecture

The exterior uses metal cages containing peat that can be moved and placed on the site. The containers would plant different local flowers and grass to generate a green wall in a contemporary method. This prefabricated construction will change with the season, making life in the prison less monotonous and more human with an emphasis on nature.

Architect: OOIIO Architecture
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Project Team: Joaquin Millán Villamuelas, Cristina Viacario, Belen Gomez, Lurdes Martinez, Javier Urrutia, Ignacio Jimeno, Kristinn R. Olafsonn
Area: 9000 m2



Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Female Prison / OOIIO Architecture" 18 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=244702>
  • JK

    I think this ia a good starting point for the prison, but it seems that the archi-societal changes that the firm has been so critical of have only been reflected outside the cells. Referencing the sectional-perspective of a cell (with the EXTERIOR green walls and EXTERIOR green roof, alone, the cell is just a confined concrete space from which to view the greener grass. Maybe this is for the better, forcing the inmates to despise their cell in want of eventual release?

  • LOW

    LOL! A female prison, and one of the renderings is a kitchen!!

  • Unsurprised

    A decidedly non-progressive use of colour.