Magazine article Corrections Forum

2007 AIA Award-Winning Justice Architecture

Magazine article Corrections Forum

2007 AIA Award-Winning Justice Architecture

Article excerpt

Whether new, renovated or expanded, these facilities show imagination, innovation and normative environments for reentry to independent living.

The following overview of 2007 AIA awards, published with permission, include 10 newly constructed or major renovation projects with comments from the architect and the jury, a panel who selected the top prizes. The citation winning designs are the higher award.


San Francisco Juvenile Hall Replacement Project

San Francisco, California

Type of facility

Juvenile detention

Total cost of construction

$43.7 million

Status of project

Under construction

Architect: The Design Partnership, San Francisco

Associate architect: Del Campo and Maru Inc., San Francisco

"This is an excellent example of .... how design can create an environment that is conducive to change within a structure that must also be secure," says the AIA jury. From the exterior to the interior, a public art form carries through the facility to lessen tensions. The massing of the facility maximizes the interior light in contrast to like facilities that are often dark. The design follows the contour of the terrain and also reduces the linear feeling often found in such projects, and this aids in creating a stimulating environment. But the design did not abandon its primary purpose: lines of sight offer "superior functionality" where supervision is critical, reports the jury. The new Juvenile Justice Center provides 150 beds (70 beds in single and 80 beds in double rooms, all wet cells) in five housing types for program and management flexibility.

Snohomish County Jail Expansion



Correctional, court, and detention

Type of construction

Addition and renovation

Total cost of construction

$86.5 million

Status of project

Completed 2006

Architect: NBBJ, Seattle

The jury noted that the Snohomish County Jail represents a unique and exemplary response to housing a major detention facility (640 beds) in the urban civic center. The glass rain skin transforms what would otherwise be an opaque, heavy institutional building into a light and transparent addition to the civic center, becoming a "good neighbor" to both adjacent county buildings and surrounding community. The design provides a positive environment for staff and residents by focusing on providing abundant natural light from adjacent outdoor recreation areas which are tiered to increase access to natural light. The jury also noted that the architect successfully implemented the direct supervision operational program, as evidenced by the location and open design of the officers' station. Key to the design concept was a city zoning variance dictating the jail expansion, which was to jointly operate with an existing, adjacent downtown jail, should not "look like a jail." Its fritted-glass curtain wall façade achieves this in two ways: by obscuring typical concrete walls and narrow jail window patterns during the day, and creating ethereal and unexpected patterns of diffused light from cells at night.


Correctional and Detention Facilities

Frederick County Work Release Center

Frederick County, Maryland


Frederick County Sheriff's Department

Frederick, Maryland

Type of construction: New

Total cost of construction

$5.3 million

Status of project

Completed 2006

Architect: PSA-Dewberry

Peoria, Illinois

Across the road from its existing jail, this 25,600-square-foot minimum-security facility serves as a 128-bed, two-story work release/substance abuse community corrections center. The project also includes conversion of the existing work release unit into additional administration and staff support areas for the county sheriff department. It houses 112 male and 16 female nonviolent habitual substance abusers in a "college residence hall" style design. …

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