Department: Spatial and Furniture Design
Degree programme: Degree Programme in Spatial Design
Author: Wanachan Chiewsilp
Title: An Art and Design Community Centre in Katajanokka: The re-use of Katajanokka prison
Level: Diploma Work
Number of pages:


Katajanokka prison is a prominent historical building in Finland; the oldest part is dated to the 1830s. It is known for its significance in the Finnish history of imprisonment. The prison design is based on the principle of the "separate system" of imprisonment. It had been the Helsinki Provincial Prison and Helsinki Remand Prison with its cell-based building, since the last decade of the nineteenth century. The prison ceased its function in 2002. The official decision for future use is to convert the prison building into a hotel.

This study focuses on the background of the underlying concept of imprisonment and its impacts on prison design, in order to gain an insight into the understanding of prison building as a base for the study of Katajanokka prison its particular concept, character and space. Various kinds of spatial intervention methods are applied in this project in order to understand the concept of imprisonment space, to analyse its space both spatially and functionally and to search for new compatible functions. The methods consist of an investigation of the prison plans, site plans and historical documents, its spatial environment and society as well as a part of the analytic tool of the "space syntax" techniques.

The goal of the project is to convert Katajanokka prison into an Art and Design Community Centre, as a model to demonstrate how to re-use the old prison building. The concept is "a change over of segregation to integration". It primarily comes from the main users of the building according to the fact that the prison results from the need of social control over the individual members of society.

The result of this final work is a new intervention programme as a design proposal for the re-use of the Katajanokka prison. The aim of the design is to create a creative inner atmosphere in the former prison space.

Materials: a series of drawings, two models and a written part of the final work
Keywords: Katajanokka prison, separate system, prison building type, spatial intervention, spatial analysis, Art and Design Community Centre
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