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NEWS RELEASE

Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2007

Contact: Marisa Ramirez
713.743.8152 (office)
713.204.9798 (cell)
mrcannon@uh.edu

PRISON LIFE: UH LECTURE EXAMINES ARCHITECTURE OF TEXAS PRISONS,
IMPACT ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

The number of people behind its walls creates its own city—a carceral city of guards, wardens and prisoners. Looming prison walls and structures are juxtaposed against quiet neighborhoods and communities, which, perhaps subconsciously, mimic the concrete architecture in adjacent businesses, schools and churches. The architecture of prisons is traditionally without character and without aesthetics, intended to keep people out as much as it aims to keep its charges in.

Thomas Colbert, associate professor at the UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, researched this subject and will deliver his findings in a lecture titled, “The Carceral City: The Architecture of Prisons in Texas.” The free event is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 6 at the college. There is an accompanying exhibit by photographer Shannon Stoney.

“What is left when architecture takes away aesthetics?” Colbert asked. “You’re left with only function, only utilitarianism. You’re left with extreme reduction.”

For more than a year, Colbert and Stoney examined the structure and design of the Huntsville and Holliday prisons and the environment the physical structure created for those who live and work behind its walls.

“Every surface you touch is concrete or steel, very austere,” Colbert observed. “These people will return to join the population at some point. This is a subject for discussion and analysis.”

The photo exhibit will on view through the end of March.

Colbert’s study was made possible by a grant from the Rice Design Alliance.

WHAT: The Carceral City: The Architecture of Prisons in Texas,” lecture and exhibit
WHEN: 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 6
WHERE: UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. For directions and parking information, please visit www.uh.edu/campus_map/buildings/ARC.html.
WHO: Thomas Colbert, associate professor of architecture

 

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