Pacific Ocean Platform Prison Competition Entry / Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, Kristijonas Skirmantas

Courtesy of Povilas Zakauskas, , Kristijonas Skirmantas

Designed by architects Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, and Kristijonas Skirmantas their ‘Buoy Prison’ proposal for the Platform Prison competition consists of  3 main parts: bearing column, structural ring and regular rectangular modules, containing all prison areas defined in a design program, hanging under structural ring. Separate parts (modules) could be easily replaced by the others or new extensions could be added if needed. This makes the whole prison system flexible and adjustable to always changing requirements. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, Kristijonas Skirmantas

Site was the main factor that influenced the concept of prisons volume. Ocean creates a constantly changing but at the same time homogeneous and unrestricted environment that determines the volume of prison to be simple, iconic and geometry equivalent to all directions. We decided that circle is a shape that matches all these requirements the best. 

Courtesy of Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, Kristijonas Skirmantas

All vacant places under the structural ring is efficiently used by a dense grid of rods, using kinetic wave energy to provide building with electricity. Round roof structure provides modules with natural shadow but at the same time it contains many cracks, letting sunlight to reach rooms that require natural insulation, and form a rectangular graphical drawing, which exposes very clearly during night time and creates strict mood of prison.  All ring consists of permanent steel frame which is covered with light sectional façade plates, that could be easily adjusted if module combination changes. 


Why ocean wave energy?

Wave power is renewable, green, pollution-free, and environmentally invisible. Its net potential (resource minus “costs”) is better than wind, solar, small hydro or biomass power. Wave energy contains roughly 1000 times the kinetic energy of wind, they are quieter and much less visually obtrusive. Unlike wind and solar power, power from ocean waves continues to be produced around the clock. It’s certainly a tantalizing prospect to think that we could gather usable energy from the natural forces at work on water’s surface. 


We chose Buoy systems that use the rise and fall of ocean swells to drive hydraulic pumps. The generators are mounted in the roof construction. Rods connecting buoys and generators play an important role in creating always wavering prison image, obscuring the massive central column and making the building disappear in a vibrant oceans environment. A series of buoys rise and fall with the wave. The movement “strokes” an electrical generator and makes electricity that is accumulated in the plant room and used for building’s needs.

scheme diagram 01

Separate zones are clearly separated and laid out in different parts of the building. Two different use sections (prisoners awaiting trial and housing convicted prisoners) are dislocated in opposite sides of the building and separated by facilities that will be used by them at different times, designed in the central part of the building. All service rooms are located around the central core of the volume containing lift shafts and connecting to the helicopter landing and boat loading areas. Administration, staff and control & security zones are isolated from the rest of the building.

Architects: Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas VaiciulisKristijonas Skirmantas
Location: Pacific Ocean 
Competition: [PACIFIC] Ocean Platform Prison
Competition Organizer: [AC‐CA]
Function: Prison
Building Area: 4820 m2
Year: 2013

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Pacific Ocean Platform Prison Competition Entry / Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, Kristijonas Skirmantas" 22 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Philip

    Sorry but I think this is unworthy and a utter desecration of architecture, it has no place here, what is next extermination modules also with their own electrical generation, really delete it

  • Aj

    totally agree with Philip and the rendering itself is so dark and misinformed. Seems like the architects have been inspired from some hollywood sifi.
    More and more prison projects these days are dealing with how to settle within the existing fabric and not treat prisoners as some vermin in the society.

  • Boris

    I like this project. This building creates some eerie spaces that I can’t say I’ve ever experienced. I hope I never have to go to prison, but I would love to visit this place if it were ever built.

    It would also be interesting if some of the detention cells could go down and float on the surface of the water, creating the feeling of being on a ship.

  • Pingback: Pacific Ocean Platform Prison Competition Entry / Povilas Zakauskas, Tomas Vaiciulis, Kristijonas Skirmantas | Nick Socrates Contemporary Art

  • Paul Downton

    Wow. A wind-powered fascist fantasy… I agree with Philip and wonder, if a nicely-rendered ‘sustainable’ concentration camp project was doing the rounds, would it also be published here?

    And I’m scared I know the answer.

  • Alex

    Gents, prison is not meant to be a fun place. This one is absolutely gorgeous construction.

  • mario clima

    Through all didascalic descriptions i did’nt read the “hidden thinking” that sounds like: <>. It’s really dreadfull..

  • Pingback: Una prisión flotante

  • Pepito

    First of all, when designing a prison, please get your facts right! The floor plan and the interaction between spaces does not work. Hire an Architect with prison experience not Disney Imagineers!!! Ok, so now lets rehabilitate these convict? I don’t think this works! We might as well lower the entire facility and drown people within it because this is the opposite approach at being a civilized! That’s all i got to say about that.

  • vijay

    prison are supposed to keep people in…not kill their spirits..Prison
    should also be a place where people can have a chance to change. It should invoke the spiritual side as well. This looks like the place
    where the clones in the star wares movie- attack of the clones were made.( though the one is star wars was not depressing)