U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture urges support for ADPSR ethics proposal
In a powerfully worded letter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has expressed support for ADPSR's campaign to amend the AIA Code of Ethics. "Architects participate in shaping the experience of people in detention ... The design of prison environments can in general help to meet human rights standards but, in some extreme cases, design may facilitate abuse.... I again urge AIA to help resolve the human rights problems caused by solitary confinement through prohibiting the design of spaces that would lead to these cruel, inhuman, or degrading conditions." See the full letter on our campaign endorsements page.
AIA Portland endorses APDSR's human rights petition
The Portland, OR, chapter of the American Institute of Architects has sent a letter of support for ADPSR's petition seeking to ban the design of execution chambers and supermax prisons for prolonged solitary confinement to the national directors of AIA. "Some buildings do intentionally lead to human rights violations, and even though this is a very small number of buildings, it is of great concern given the gravity of the outcomes, including cruelty, degradation, and death. We do not enjoy dwelling on these topics, but when confronted with them, we find that a response is warranted," wrote chapter President Stefee Knudsen, AIA. See the whole letter on the campaign Endorsements page. Thank you AIA Portland!
Architecture professors join ADPSR in telling AIA to support human rights
A new petition sponsored by ADPSR allows architecture professors to urge the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to amend their code of ethics to support human rights. Architecture faculty play a unique and central role in transmitting the ethics and culture of the profession of architecture, and the AIA Code of Ethics is an important point of reference in that discussion. Having a ban on the design of execution chambers and spaces intended for prolonged solitary confinement would improve the way that professors teach ethics and will help to improve the understanding of human rights within the field of architecture. The petition is available here.
Metropolis magazine picks ADPSR as Activism and Design highlight of 2013!
In a ringing endorsement of ADPSR's efforts to raise awareness of -- and help end -- the human rights abuses of executions and prolonged solitary confinement, Metropolis magazine listed ADPSR in the 2013 Year in Review of "the most important buildings, products, or events of 2013 that have ramifications for the future."
Critic Mark Lamster writes: "Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility are doing incredibly important work on the ethical implications of building solitary confinement cells and prisons. America has to address this issue... because it doesn’t work and it’s morally indefensible." Thank you, Metropolis - we couldn't agree more!
PS - for more from Metropolis, see their Q&A with ADPSR President Raphael Sperry.
ADPSR Ethics campaign at California legislative hearing!
A special California legislative hearing on solitary confinement heard "Many major national non-governmental organizations are now involved in the challenge to solitary confinement ... an effort is underway to amend the American Institute of Architects’ Code of Ethics to prohibit the design of facilities intended for prolonged solitary confinement.”
read more on the ADPSR blog.
DesignCorps Endorses ADPSR Petition, CBC Radio covers story
Design Corps is a non-profit organization that works to create positive change in communities by providing architecture and planning services, and a leader in the Public Interest Design movement. DesignCorps leader Bryan Bell is a Loeb Fellow and Latrobe Prize winner. "We believe that full protection of human rights is necessary for positive change to occur in communities and for equitable decision-making to be possible" he writes. Read the full letter here.
Growing support also includes over 1,000 signatures on ADPSR’s online petition, and recent national news coverage from the CBC.
ADPSR Campaign featured in Design Podcast
ADPSR's campaign to ban the design of execution chambers and spaces intended for solitary confinement got a boost May 28 when the popular design podcast 99% Invisible dedicated their show to covering the story. The podcast features interviews with ADPSR President Raphael Sperry, psychologist Terry Kupers, and Pelican Bay prisoner Robert Luca. The episode was co-produced with legal podcast Life of the Law. Together these podcasts have an audience of over 13,000 fans. Check it out!
ADPSR Petition Endorsed by AIA San Francisco
The AIA San Francisco chapter has endorsed ADPSR's petition urging AIA (National) to amend their Code of Ethics to ban the design of execution chambers and supermax prisons -- buildings that violate human rights. See their latest newsletter for the details.
ADPSR launches AIA Ethics Reform Petition
Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) is asking the American Institute of Architects to amend its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to prohibit the design of spaces for torture and killing. In the United States, this comprises the design of execution chambers and super-maximum security prisons (“supermax”), which inflict torture through long-term solitary isolation. As people of conscience and as a profession dedicated to improving the built environment for all people, we cannot participate in the design of spaces that violate human life and dignity. Participating in the development of buildings designed for torture and killing is fundamentally incompatible with professional practice that respects standards of decency and human rights. AIA has the opportunity to lead our profession in upholding human rights.
Sign the Petition (link to left).
Read more here
The Housing Question: ADPSR participates in a Roundtable Debate on Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream
New York's Museum of Modern Art is currently hosting an exhibition exploring new architectural possibilities for cities and suburbs in the aftermath of the recent foreclosure crisis, http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1230.
They asked 5 teams to envision new housing and transportation infrastructures that could catalyze urban transformation, The exhibit drew quick criticism, and there is a continuing debate with exhibit co-organizer Rheinhold Martin, ADPSR President Amit Price Patel, former President Raphael Sperry, IDEO fellow Liz Ogbu, and Professor Tom Angotti.
Read the fascinating and important discussion about the state and future of public housing: http://places.designobserver.com/feature/foreclosed-exhibition-roundtable/34578/
ADPSR Volunteers work with local organizations on Prison repurposing project
Debbie Reyes, California Prison Moratorium Project, 559-367-6020
Frank Fontes, California Prison Moratorium Project, 559-593-2436
On June 2 in Chowchilla, CA, twenty ADPSR architects and activists joined the California Prison Moratorium Project to imagine a new purpose to the Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation has proposed converting the facillity to a men's prison, which is widely opposed in the local community. ADPSR was invited to conduct a charrette with the objective of finding new uses for this facility that would benefit the local economy and environment.
There were morning presentations by local activists about the conditions of both the prison and the local community. Like much of the Central Valley, Chowchilla faces a number of challenges: extremely poor air quality, including particulates from diesel trucks and pesticides from agricultural spraying; groundwater tainted with a variety of contaminants, including arsenic; economic stress from high unemployment; and a variety of social stresses including high dropout rates, domestic violence, and poor quality health and health care. Former ADPSR President Raphael Sperry also gave a presentation on how similar facilities has been converted around the world.
In the afternoon groups strategized alternative uses. Options discussed included:
Several options were developed by breakout groups. More information about the charrette is available at http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/chowchilla.
Seeking drawings of the worst prison spaces...
ADPSR will be holding an exhibition at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design this October - November on the design of execution chambers and spaces of solitary confinement. It may travel to other venues -- and have an online presence -- as we develop the project,
But to succeed, we need drawings!
- See more at the blog.
Click here to read more.