Breaking Boundaries of Prison Design for Architectural Design Studio

Conference: The Asian Conference on Education (ACE2021)
Title: Breaking Boundaries of Prison Design for Architectural Design Studio
Stream: Education, Sustainability & Society: Social Justice, Development & Political Movements
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Sunaree Lawanyawatna, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand
Martin Schoch, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand


By collaborating with the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), a bachelor architecture studio assignment for a prison design is being carried out to improve students' socially-oriented design skills and integrate an open approach to 360° learning and public engagement.
The task aims to provide design solutions that improve human conditions and inspire inmates to improve their social behavior and attitude towards life. A stepwise approach of exposing students to various information sources is used; the mixture of learning experiences in direct contact with professionals, experts, and individuals affected by existing conditions intent to strengthen the student's knowledge foundation, empathy, and clarity in the decision making process for improving social situations related to the design.
The teaching methodology succeeded in integrating the design studio more closely into existing, design-relevant social issues. The results show that the proposed designs suggest an increased awareness of social issues and an understanding of people-centered needs, with students aiming to improve the prisoners' existing situation. In addition, the public availability of the results, coupled with the prevalent public stigma towards improving conditions of convicted offenders, helped the students develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills towards others.
Improvements for future teaching include exploring a greater variety of relevant, critical, socially-oriented aspects of architectural design tasks while expanding collaboration and engagement with the respective individuals and groups.

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