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