Eastern State Pennitentiary


Originally designed as a terrifying prison aimed to inspire pentinance in it’s prisoners, this pennitentiary is now a museum aiming to bring attention to the reality of prison, the various prison types, and the implications of the prison system.

This museum is eye opening in several ways. The first is obvious, waking up the public to the reality of crime statistics, the impacts of prison life, and the way in which a prisoners sentence truly impacts their life and potential success upon release. The second, less obvious, prison design and the potential instructional value of a prison ruin.

As a student in a construction related field I found this ruin particularly interesting for the details revealed by the disrepair. From wall construction to roof vaulting and window to wall connections this prison ruin reveals stunning construction details often seen only in books and photographs by students. I think that this ruin would make a fantastic field trip location for students of design, particularly architecture or construction, to view built details. This local attraction could even be extra credit if it isn’t possible to integrate it into the curriculum. Honestly it would be pretty cool if a professor could get a private tour and a more in depth look at the construction and maintenance of this prison ruin turned museum.


From a design perspective:


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From a construction perspective:


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