Although often criticized for being especially liberal in its approach to crime and punishment, Norway focuses intensely on ensuring that ”doing time” is done in a dignified way, and inmates’ sentence should be a dress rehearsal for living a life without crime once they have completed their sentence. The Halden Prison in Halden, Norway by HLM arkitektur in collaboration with Erik Møller Arkitekter is considered to be the world’s most humae prison and it will be the new home for Anders Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist responsible for the deaths of 76 people last week.
More after the break.
The on-going debate about prisons as a form of architecture, and Halden Prison in particular, concerns the question of what the goal of incarceration really is: punishment or rehabilitation? This prison was designed as a middle-ground between hard and soft punishment: an attempt to forefront the notion that although convicted criminals have had their liberties revoked, they are on their way to recover through the prison system.
The facility is located in forested area with several building each with its own look and material, the intention being to produce a variety filled prison. Depending on the level of security, the facades alternate, from untreated wood to very dark brick – colours and materials reiterated in the area’s rocks and vegetation. The buildings have been constructed from nature’s own materials: tiles, bricks, untreated wood and galvanized steel. Simple monolithic shapes contrast with the landscape’s magnificent trees and undulating woodland floor.