TOPIC C · K26 building

«L’isolement est le meilleur moyen d’agir sur le moral des enfants; c’est là surtout que la voix de la religion, n’eût-elle jamais parlé à leur coeur, recouvre toute sa puissance d’émotion» said Edouard Ducpetiaux in 1843, at the dawn of the establishment of a new system of social punishment, abandoning all physical punishment in favour of more sober and discreet sentences, directed towards the deprivation of fundamental rights.

At that time, punishment was clearly focused on the need for repentance, on the redirecting of the penitent to God in order to find the right path. This formed the typology of confinement that we know today, largely inspired by that of the convent. Isolation, first of all with regard to society, but also internally, is established as a fundamental principle that allows one to rediscover a religious and therefore social reason.

Today, however, religion is no longer the central element of social organization. The foundations of contemporary society have in fact converged on issues that have more to do with globalization and omnipresent inter-connections, resulting in an environment marked by a constant frenzy. However, although it has evolved, the punitive justice system has not undergone a radical metamorphosis and today it seems out of step with the outside world to which it constantly refers.

The separative quality of the typology of the milieu d’enfermement, considered as a place of individual transformation that will restore to the State its lost subjects, still seems today to be in accordance with its role as a mirror of society. It is, however, the question of isolation within the structure itself that can be questioned, particularly in view of the constant hyper-connectivity of individuals in society. Through the question of isolation from society and inside of a macrocosm reflecting society, this project aims to question the role of an architectural typology in the materialization of societal phenomena such as the one described above.

Team: Dominik Arni, François Charbonnet, Marine de Dardel, Pedro Guedes, Steffen Hägele, Patrick Heiz, Marina Montresor, Francisco Moura Veiga