a fountain – prison courtyard


The invited competition’s brief asked for an artwork to be placed in the courtyard of a new prison building. The courtyard itself was poorly designed with a narrow stair connected to an awkward ramp in one of the corners. Those were needed to connect the two different levels between the main prison building and the sports hall. We decided this place needed something else.

In one big gesture, we inclined the whole courtyard by 6%. This introduced a new generous connection between the different levels that unified the space and also made it wheelchair accessible. An incision into the ramp made it possible for fire trucks to access the hall and created a playing ground for pétanque. A series of functional elements were integrated into the ramp: a bench, a fountain/artwork, a small garden and a pavilion with an elegant transparent roof. Above the water surface of the fountain that creates a contemplative atmosphere, hovers an abstracted version of a sphinx. So we still provided an artwork, kind of…