Prison, Architecture and Humans

Volume editors:
Elisabeth Fransson, Francesca Giofrè, Berit Johnsen
Chapter authors:
Gudrun Brottveit, Stefano Catucci, Rosalba D’Onofrio, Pier Matteo Fagnoni, Elisabeth Fransson, Inger Marie Fridhov, Loredana Giani, Francesca Giofrè, Linda Grøning, Yngve Hammerlin, Franz James, Berit Johnsen, John K., Livia Porro, Tore Rokkan, Ferdinando Terranova, Elio Trusiani


What is prison architecture and how can it be studied? How are concepts such as humanism, dignity and solidarity translated into prison architecture? What kind of ideologies and ideas are expressed in various prison buildings from different eras and locations? What is the outside and the inside of a prison, and what is the significance of movement within the prison space? What does a lunch table have to do with prison architecture? How do prisoners experience materiality in serving a prison sentence? These questions are central to the texts presented in this anthology.

Prison, Architecture and Humans is the result of a collaboration between researchers and architects from Italy, Norway and Sweden. It presents new approaches to prison architecture and penological research by focusing on prison design, prison artefacts, everyday prison life and imprisoned bodies. The book will be of interest to students, researchers, architects and politicians.


Hva er fengselsarkitektur og hvordan kan den studeres? Hvordan blir begreper som humanisme, verdighet og solidaritet oversatt til fengselsarkitektur? Hvilke ideologier og ideer kommer til uttrykk i fengsler til ulike tider og på ulike steder? Hva betyr bevegelser i fengselslandskap? Hva er utside og innside av et fengsel? Hva har et lunsjbord å gjøre med fengselsarkitektur? Hvordan erfarer innsatte fengselsmaterialitet? Dette er sentrale spørsmål i de tekstene som presenteres i denne antologien. Boken er et resultat av samarbeid mellom arkitekter og forskere i Italia, Norge og Sverige. Den tilbyr nye tilnærminger til studier av fengselsarkitektur og pønologisk forskning gjennom sitt fokus på fengselsdesign, fengselsartefakter, fengselshverdagsliv og innesperrede kropper. Boken vil være nyttig for studenter, forskere, arkitekter og politikere.


Author Biographies

Gudrun Brottveit

Gudrun Brottveit is a criminologist and Associate Professor in Psychosocial Work and Welfare Studies at the University College of Østfold. Her research interests are related to critical criminology, the materiality of punishment, professional practices focusing on interpersonal meetings, subject ontology and body phenomenology. Brottveit has been responsible for various qualitative research projects and has participated in several national and international multidisciplinary research collaborations. Her current research includes user involved collaboration with vulnerable young people and their meeting with child welfare, as well as and with prisoners on their struggle to be seen as ordinary people. Brottveit has published articles in Max Planck-Institut für Auslândisches und Internationales Strafrecht, Psyke & Logos and Vulnerable Groups & Inclusion.

Stefano Catucci

Stefano Catucci is Associate Professor at Sapienza University of Rome. He teaches aesthetics at the University of Rome “Sapienza”. He has published writings on early twentieth century German and French philosophy and is the author of an Introduction to Foucault reprinted several times (ed. Laterza). He has also published the books La filosofia critica di Husserl (Husserl’s Philosophy: A Critical Theory, 1995), Per una filosofia povera (Towards a Philosophy of Poverty, 2003) and Imparare dalla Luna (Learning from the Moon, 2013). Among his recent published works are: Preliminari a un’estetica della plastica (2014), L’opera d’arte e la sua ombra (2015), and La linea del crimine (The Line of Crime, 2016), a study of Foucault’s short essay La vie des hommes infâmes (The Lives of Infamous Men, 1977). He has created and organized meetings on “Philosophy and Music” at the Biennale Musica in Venice (2006 and 2007) and the “States-General of Arts” in Florence (2011).

Rosalba D’Onofrio

Rosalba D’Onofrio is an Assistant Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Camerino, where she teaches Urban Planning. She has conducted extensive research in the field of environmental and landscape urban design, including: LIFE+ Natura “SUN LIFE”; FAR Research Quality of the Landscape and Quality of Life in the Sustainable Adriatic City”, among other projects. Her current research focuses on the relationship between urban planning, well-being and the health of cities with some national and international publications such as: R. D’Onofrio, E. Trusiani (2017), Città, salute e benessere, F. Angeli, Roma; R. D’ Onofrio, E. Trusiani (2017), Urban Planning for Healthy European Cities, Springer.

Pier Matteo Fagnoni

Pier Matteo Fagnoni graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence in 1995 and received a PhD in the Technology of Architecture in 2000 from Sapienza University of Rome. He serves as a Contract Professor in Technology in Florence and Rome. The favored field of interest for Pier Matteo Fagnoni is connected to organization and management. In recent years he has often worked as Project Manager managing investments from foreign companies. In 2002 he founded the “Fagnoni & Associati” architecture firm, with Raffaella Fagnoni and Daniele Desii. F&A is a team that has over twenty years of experience together. They work in every sector pertaining to architecture and design mainly relating to public structures providing social, community and welfare services.

Elisabeth Fransson

Elisabeth Fransson is a sociologist and Associate Professor at the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service in Norway. Her particular research interests are various forms of response towards children and youth, such as state-funded child welfare institutions, and in later years prisons. She focuses on socio-material contexts, everyday prison life, professional ideologies and practices, and affects and effects on the imprisoned body. Fransson’s research includes multidisciplinary collaboration as well as co-writing with prisoners. Methodologically she experiments with various forms of qualitative research. Her current research includes children and youths in Norwegian prisons as well as local prison practices regarding progression and reentry into society. Together with Francesca Geofré she is responsible for the PriArchH network. Fransson has published articles in The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography and Psyke & Logos.

Inger Marie Fridhov

Inger Marie Fridhov is a theologian and criminologist. She has been working with crime, crime prevention, prison and prisoners for the last 35 years - both as a scientist and as an administrator of cultural and rehabilitation projects. She has written several reports and been a co-writer of many books in this field.

Loredana Giani

Loredana Giani is Full Professor of Administrative Law at the European University of Rome. Author of several books and more than 70 articles, her main research interests are related to the organisational profile of public administrations and the legal aspects regarding the guarantee of fundamental rights mainly in relation to public services. Giani’s research includes interdisciplinary subjects in educational law and subjects related to the implementation of the precautionary and prevention principles within the programming of the activities of public administrations, especially in relation to extreme events (such as earthquakes) for the construction of resilience processes.

Francesca Giofrè

Francesca Giofrè, Architect, PhD, Associate Professor of the Technology of Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture, Department of Planning, Design, Technology of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome. Visiting professor at many international universities, her research areas are: innovation in the design and building process, design for all and, recently, healthy cities. The research projects within this framework are on health and social architecture and their environment. She is a Member of the Interuniversity Research Centre TESIS, Systems and Technologies for Health Care Buildings. Together with Elisabeth Fransson she is responsible for the PriArcH network. She made many feasibility design studies in the field of architecture for health, and she has published various papers, articles and books with national and international publishers.

Linda Grøning

Linda Grøning is Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Bergen. She received her Juris Dr. title in 2008 at the Law Faculty in Lund, Sweden, and has since published extensively in the research areas of criminal law and criminal justice. Gröning is Project Leader for the research project The Functionality of the Criminal Justice System, and Leader for the research group in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Faculty of Law in Bergen.

Yngve Hammerlin

Yngve Hammerlin is Dr. Philos, Associate Professor, researcher and author. He specializes in four subjects: 1. suicide; 2. violence/power; 3. prison research; and 4. human values, epistemology, methodology, ontology and ethics. He has been working on everyday sociology and everyday philosophy since the late 1970s. More recently, he has worked on topographic turn, newsociomaterialism and the human turn within sociology and philosophy. In particular, the spatial turn and sociomateriality are key ontological, methodical and theoretical concepts. He represents the tradition of critical sociology and social-philosophy. His studies are based on different philosophical and professional traditions. From the early 1980s, he has studied everyday life in Norwegian prisons, their sociological and sociomaterial conditions, and the ideological basis of the prison system. He has written several books and articles about suicide, violence, prison-systems and human values and perspectives, as well as epistemological, ontological and ethical problems. Activity theory, critical sociology and critical psychology, existential philosophy, phenomenology, critical situational philosophy and practical research (developed within critical psychology) have been fundamental to his studies. Thereby, it should be possible to create a comprehensive view of the offender, and humans in general, which can be understood in a dialectic and internalrelationship with the sociomateriality of everyday living conditions. Hammerlin also holds a degree from Statens kunst- og håndverksskole (now The Oslo National Academy of the Arts).

Franz James

Franz James is a multi-tasking Ph.D. student and practicing product/furniture designer. As partner in a design company he works with interior objects for closed environments, such as prisons and psychiatric hospitals. James is currently on leave from his position as Associate Professor in Furniture Design at HDK - Academy of Design and Craft, University of Gothenburg, to do a Ph.D. in design with the project Carceral design: Understanding the meaning and impact of objects, furniture and interior design in institutional spaces of incarceration and care. The dichotomy between design for wellbeing and/or security is critically examined in his work, as well as terms like ‘home’, ‘noninstitutional’, and ‘normality’. James is also engaged in an interdisciplinary research project concerning the meaning of the physical environment in the Swedish state’s special residential homes for young people with psychosocial problems, substance abuse and criminal behaviour.

Berit Johnsen

Berit Johnsen holds a PhD in sports and is Associate Professor and Head of the Research Department at KRUS. Besides being interested in leisure activities, bodies and movement in prison, she is currently involved in studies of the quality of prison life, preventive detention and prison staff professionalism. It is in the interdisciplinary approach and cooperation characterizing these projects that she finds the potential and inspiration for her research. Johnsen has alone and along with others published several papers and articles within the field of penology. She is a member of the PriArcH network, and she is, at the policy level, involved in the building of a new prison in Norway – Agder prison.

John K.

John K. is a pseudonym. As of this writing (January 2018) John K. is serving a sentence in an open prison. He began keeping a diary when first incarcerated and subsequently joined a collaborative writing project together with researchers. He continues to write and is still contributing to prison research. His research has been presented at conferences, and now, in this book.

Livia Porro

Livia Porro is an architect who has been dealing with inclusive design since her Master thesis (Center for Education and Rehabilitation at La Boca, Buenos Aires, 2013). She is currently completing her PhD in Engineering-based Architecture and Urban Planning at the Faculty of Engineering, at Sapienza University of Rome. Her research focuses on defining design criteria for residential facilities for adults with autism spectrum disorders, by taking into account how specific perceptual and cognitive features result in a peculiar system of architectural and technological requirements. She contributes to research and teaching activities led by Professor Francesca Giofrè (course in the Technology of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome).

Tore Rokkan

Tore Rokkan is an Associate Professor working as a Researcher in the Research Department at the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service. His research interest is in the field of change and development. His focus is on professionals’ and organizations’ cooperation and competence in developing and implementing new policy and practice. He is also interested in new methods and designs in order to create new knowledge in the field of corrections. Previous experience includes research in healthcare organizations and drug rehabilitation, studying cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations. He has also been involved in the development and evaluation of several projects and programmes in the prison and probation service over the last 15 years: cooperation between health and social services, implementation of Electronic Monitoring (EM), evaluation of different cognitive programmes and education of staff. Recent research involves studies on foreign inmates serving their sentence in Norway and inmates serving their Norwegian sentence in other countries. This transnational prisoner is a new challenge for correctional services in all European countries.

Ferdinando Terranova

Ferdinando Terranova has been Full Professor of the Technology of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome. He was Director of the Department of Innovation Technology in Architecture and the Culture of Environment – ITACA, Sapienza University of Rome (2004-2007). He was Director (2004-2009) of the Level II Master in Architecture for Health for Developing Countries, financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is an expert in the field of programming and the planning of complex building, with a special focus on healthcare and social care architecture, and in the field of Italian building production policy. Since 1989 he has made many feasibility studies, projects, guideline and research studies on healthcare and social care building. He has published more than 100 books, papers and articles. He has been the editor of many book  chains and journals.

Elio Trusiani

Elio Trusiani is an architect, PhD, Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Camerino and Professor at the Specialisation School of “Beni Architettonici e Paesaggio” Sapienza University of Rome. Visiting professor at many international universities, his fields of applied research are: town planning, urban regeneration and cultural landscape planning with a focus on emerging regions and developing countries. His most recent field of research is the relationship between urban planning and health. He has published books, essays and articles on these topics with national and international publishers.

Cover Image
January 16, 2018


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