Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Watchman

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posted on 2021-12-07, 08:02 authored by Scott-Towers, Rhidian

Over the course of the last five years, the female prison population in New Zealand has risen more than 56%. As these numbers remain exponentially increasing, the ability to uphold successful facilitation for each and every inmate is weakening. This is largely a result of poor and incorrect implementation of criminal rehabilitation schemes. Upon release, confusion, fear, and the sheer overwhelm of exposure to the culture contained within modern day society gives appeal to recidivism, and leads to the escalation of the prison population crisis.  In response to this escalating crisis — advancing the search for alternative means of successful criminal rehabilitation — this research explores the enablement of architecture to have a rehabilitative function within a prison environment, as well as the reduction of recidivism through didactic architectural experience.  This research proposes that the decommissioned Mount Crawford Prison in Wellington New Zealand can be redesigned to test this opportunity. As a research site, it can be used to test how design can enhance the rehabilitation process of a prisoner in the cultural transition from incarceration to society.  The research approach integrates Michel Foucault’s theory “Of Other Spaces” to address the first principle objective of this research investigation, and develop architecture that encourages prison inhabitants to reinterpret dystopian experience through the lens of heterotopia; Cathy Ganoe’s theory “Design as Narrative: A theory of inhabiting space” to address the second principle objective of this research investigation, and develop architecture that establishes a spatial experiential narrative about a person’s transforming interpretation of their surroundings; Daniel Merritt Hewett’s theory “Architecture and the Productive Implications of Pause” to address the third principle objective of this research investigation, as a means of establishing strategic points of pause along the journey of the spatial experiential narrative, that enable enhanced understanding of heterotopia. Kalervo Oberg’s theory of culture shock is also integrated as a means of developing an understanding of the cultural transition from incarceration to liberation.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

A Didactic Rehabilitative Architecture

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Brown, Daniel