RAUMLABOR BERLIN’S CONCEPT FOR THE THREE EXERCISE YARDS AT EISENSTADT PENAL INSTITUTION COMBINES AN ARTISTIC DESIGN WITH THE WELL-CONSIDERED INTEGRATION OF THE INMATES’ NEEDS.
In the course of the renovation of Eisenstadt Penal Institution, the inmates’ three exercise yards were also redesigned. For the inmates, these outdoor areas provide important moments of self-determination and freedom of movement in the course of their daily routine. Here, they can have social interactions and decide for themselves what they want to do. This means that the yards must allow for a variety of uses and activities. These requirements and consideration of the inmates’ needs are central to raumlabor berlin’s concept.
In order to create more space for the inmates, the area designated for the yards was extended to include the adjacent site that had originally been planned as a green area. In this way, the largest possible area was appropriated for the yards. Green areas featuring groundscover plants and landscaping elements are used to structure the yards themselves, and there are sport and exercise options as well as sturdy, rough-hewn benches and tables.
The watch tower, from which the staff can observe the goings-on in the yards, is also part of the artistic design. An unusual box clad in sheet metal and sitting atop of a steel structure, it is reminiscent of a steamboat cabin.
While three sides are defined by a solid wooden fence, the view to the south is unobstructed and only closed off by a wire mesh fence. This allows a clear view of the green safety corridor.
The intensive discussions that took place when realising the artistic design in this extraordinary outdoor space were the most interesting aspect for all project participants. They learned, for instance, that inmates will only make use of grassy areas and paths that are positioned along their circular walk by the fence. In addition, all design elements and materials must meet high security standards, which is why it was necessary to adapt some elements of the original proposal. The openness and commitment of all those involved made it possible to maintain the dialogue during the realisation process and ultimately create a space with great appeal despite the necessary adjustments. The result of these efforts motivates us, at BIG, to engage in this discussion in the future as well.