Hydroelectric Waterfall Prison Proposal / Margot Krasojevic

  • 31 May 2013
  • by
  • Institutional Architecture mini
Courtesy of

Located in the Pacific Ocean, in close proximity to the Canadian coastline, Margot Krasojevic‘s proposal for the Hydroelectric Waterfall Prison acts as a sustainable, hydroelectric power station. Constructed of reinforced concrete, it’s vertical structure consists of a floating tension-leg platform tethered to the seabed eliminating most vertical movement, with depths up to 2,000m. The concrete support is connected to 4-column semi-submersibles further stabilized by a structural ring of floating Tyson turbines. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

The prison consists of a series of cantilevered loops creating an even weight distributed throughout the rig. The contained prison surface is made from a web of reinforced steel elements embedded within holographic filtered glass panels, superimposing views of life inside and views out of the prison, this depth of field creates a surreal environments which gives the illusion of boundary-less architecture, a kaleidoscopic panopticon.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

The current design uses principles behind a pumped storage hydro electric power station. Pumped storage facilities use excess electrical system capacity, generally available at night, to pump water from one reservoir, in this case the ocean to another reservoir at a higher elevation which is the prison hold, the height of the prison hold is approximately 50 meters. During peak electrical demand, water from the prison hold is released onto the floating turbines in the ocean, and electricity is produced. At times of low electrical demand, excess generation capacity is used to pump water into the prison’s hold.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

A secondary ring of wave energy converters (similar to The Pelamis) float around the main structure which are used to pump and store water into the main section of the design, the prison’s hold. The buoyancy hydro force within the funnel of the main concrete vessel structure contributes to the pressure pumping water up into the prison volume hold before it is let out through it’s surface onto the Tyson turbines below, this alters the height of the prison deck and the pressure hydro release. The ocean water is distributed through the nozzles within the carbon fibre clad cantilevered outer prison surface. The surface choreographs the amount of pressure and water to fall onto the floating Tyson turbines below, controlling the amount of electricity generated.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

Floating Tyson turbines turn a shaft when water falls onto them, powering an electrical generator housed housed within the primary concrete structure located in the artificial cliff-side. Underwater cables run the electrical power to the mainland. In light of recent advances pumped-storage hydro is the predominant renewable energy source available to balance intermittent resources, such as wind and solar. Pumped-storage facilities can enable a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and build a cleaner renewable energy capacity.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

12,000 cubic meters of water are stored in the prison’s hold, available as necessary, the head is 50 meters and with a contributing hydro pressure the electrical energy produced is approximately 3.2 MW providing on average 2,045 homes with electricity. Prisoner cells are lined with semi transparent optical mirror which provides superimposed views into and through the cells, giving the illusion of an open plan space. The continuous loop of cells distribute weight evenly across the cantilevered ramp. Ocean water that is pumped through the cladding screens views and camouflages the prison when the turbines are operated.

Courtesy of Margot Krasojevic

The central circulation spiral staircase connects the Helli-pad to the artificial cliff-side generator, it acts as a base from which to observe the inmates. Helicopters are only allowed to land when the Hydroelectric generators are shut down. The second stage of the design will implement the ideas behind low level and high level hydroelectric power stations, the important factor is the volume of water stored within the prison and the vertical drop. The design will be adapted for these necessary changes.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Hydroelectric Waterfall Prison Proposal / Margot Krasojevic" 31 May 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=379246>
  • Philip

    I think this is the second time you have shown this proposal. So for the second time can I register my absolute disgust with this as a concept, it is without even the most rudimentary notion of humanity a gitmo on the waves, what next a extermination camp module. This does not deserve the space you have given it, shame

  • Philip

    I really like this project’s typology, very interesting. The design to great but the renders could be better.

  • philip

    I really like this typology, very interesting design however the renders could be better.

  • Maria

    This design is a joke, and a bad one.

  • Sam

    “pump water from one reservoir, in this case the ocean to another reservoir at a higher elevation which is the prison hold, the height of the prison hold is approximately 50 meters. During peak electrical demand, water from the prison hold is released onto the floating turbines in the ocean, and electricity is produced.”

    It doesn’t make any sense. Should look at something else to justify the waterfall.

  • FarshidA

    Exciting arcitecture. Form is of the future, like a lot.

  • Dave Chapperelle

    Different! Never seen a load balancing power plant like this, looks interesting nevertheless. Like it.

  • Mario

    cool project nice lookin plan

  • JP McDaris

    You guys must be hurting for stuff to show…..Please don’t show comps unless they are at lease a notable mention – there is a strong reason why this did not make the juries vote…..

  • adamwhit

    Blimey you really think competitions are a viable way of determining what good architecture is. Thats nuts.

  • Dave

    Dear Archdaily, please refrain from calling very unsustainable, let alone morally dubious, architectural concepts ‘sustainable’.

  • AbdulkHAN

    bEUTIFUL design. Very clever energy station.Congratulation!

  • AbdulkHAN

    Beutiful design. Clever energy station. Congrtulation

  • Mark

    The design is one thing, but the purpose is another. Perhaps this is successful if you consider the isolation of prisoners to be a benefit. However, I deeply believe that prisoners need to be reintegrated into society on some level. We’ve clearly seen from incarceration in the United States that this supermax prison isn’t achieving anything but a lofty bill for removing someone from the population. A successful design is one that is capable of aiding reintegration into a community and teaching skills, not being a tower in the middle of the ocean.

    It’d be more successful as something like BlueSeed or maybe can contribute to the SeaSteading institute. The proposal totally misses the mark once it started to consider itself a prison.

  • SRBChristian

    This is a fascinating study in rendering techniques and digital sculpting, but this is not architecture. Why must eVolo insist on glorifying projects that are so detached from any sense of reality of constraints of very real economic and physical forces? In what economy would any agency or government spend the kind of money necessary to construct such a prison? Better yet, on what planet would such a structure be feasible to construct against that pesky little thing known to architects and engineers as gravity???

    Btw, the notion of utilizing pumps to push water up to a height to thus in turn allow it to free fall down to a series of “Tyson” generators demonstrates a further lack of familiarity with simple physics and the principles of kinetic energy. This would not create a self sustainable system but would rather create an energy depletion, as the energy required to resist gravity as well as coping with the friction within the pumps and generators would far exceed any energy that cold be recouped by an uncontrolled free fall of a water feature.

    Can we please see some consideration given to design projects that actually celebrates true creative thinking and solution finding that makes for great architects and thus architecture, rather than more sexy images from wannabe sculptors?

  • Nerbert

    I really like the idea, but is the hydro-electricity plausible?