Reimagining Prison with Frank Gehry

 "The architect Frank Gehry has never designed a prison, except for the concert hall that the town of Springfield subsequently converted to a state prison in an episode of “The Simpsons.”  Image thanks to The New Yorker

"The architect Frank Gehry has never designed a prison, except for the concert hall that the town of Springfield subsequently converted to a state prison in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Image thanks to The New Yorker

By Bill Keller in The New Yorker:  

"I've personally spent only one night in jail,” Frank Gehry confessed. “I didn’t like it very much.” Gehry, eighty-eight, who has been described as our greatest living architect (and, by an admiring pro-cannabis Web site, as a “very important pothead”) said that he got his only taste of incarceration when he was busted for possession. Last Friday, in New Haven, that night behind bars was a kind of credential. An invited audience of architects and students, corrections officials, and campaigners for criminal-justice reform assembled, at the Yale School of Architecture, for the finale of Gehry’s semester-long studio on architecture and mass incarceration. A dozen students would present their projects—designs for a humane prison—to a jury consisting mostly of “friends of Frank.”

 

Gehry, best known for the billowing contours of his concert halls and museums, has never designed a prison, unless you count the episode of “The Simpsons” in which a Gehry concert hall is converted to a state prison when the town of Springfield discovers that it hates classical music. He admitted to approaching the subject with some trepidation. “It’s heavy stuff, and I’m going to be eighty-nine, and it’s a little late,” Gehry told me during a lunch break. “I’m on the learning curve with everybody else.”  Continue reading