Review By Ekaterina Kohlwes – Mindful Design Consulting
Designing commercial interiors that improve our mood and health has always been my goal. But how do you design something to correct violent behavior in children? Take a look at this fascinating project by Ricci Greene Associates. It’s a Union County Juvenile Detention Centre in New Jersey.
Before even starting the project, the design team had to re-evaluate the process of the system for kids being brought through the correctional facility. This gave the team a lot of fresh ideas on what needs to be changed.
Here is the summary of some design feature that will improve the correctional process.
- All the fences were eliminated by providing an enclosed courtyard building. This also helps the building to blend into surrounding streets.
- A lot of sun light was provided as well as views to the outside with high-impact glass, not steel-barred windows. The positive physiological effects of daylight have been documented already from the inmates as well as employees.
- Swipe card security system was installed instead of key doors typically associated with correctional facilities.
- A variety of spaces were created that support interaction between youth, mentors and community volunteers – interactions that promote positive behavioral change.
- Paint colors and natural materials of the interiors help to associate the spaces with home environment.
- Toilets were also separated from the bedrooms.
- Door hardware was selected in wood finish, again to associate the facility with home environment.
- A number of sustainable concepts were applied throughout the facility, such as abundant use of natural light, floor radiant heating, and underground cisterns to control storm water runoff. Ream more about this project HERE.
In your opinion, will a facility like this improve behavior of children who come out of it? Or will something like this reinforce bad habits?