The IIDA Cleveland Akron City Center is thrilled to share that Kent State Campus Center Interior Design Student Brandi Green has been awarded the KSU College of Architecture and Environmental Design Traveling Fellowship. This fellowship will allow her to visit Halden Prison (Norway) and the Van Alen Institute (New York City) to further explore the value of evidence-based design in the prison system.
When asked as to how she began down this path of study, Brandi offered the following:
Bryan Stevenson has two quotes which inspire me as an interior designer.
“You don’t change the world with the ideas in your mind, but with the conviction in your heart.”
“It’s that mind-heart connection that I believe compels us to not just be attentive to all the bright and dazzling things but also the dark and difficult things.”
— Bryan Stevenson
My career interest of advocating and designing humane prisons began by reading "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson, which completely turned around my thoughts on how we punish in America. My research led me to Norway's Halden Prison, which involves a design using hard and soft surfaces to create a humane approach to imprisonment.
My visit to Halden will allow me to examine how the social and built environment changes human beings. Norway had a prison system such as the United States, but completely revised their rehabilitation approach by using evidence based design. Norway now has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world, while the united States leads the world with the highest recidivism rates.
We can do better and we have begun!
NYC has worked successfully with the Van Alen Institute to replace Rikers Prison with a humane prison solution. I will be traveling to NYC to meet with the Van Alen Institute's project manager to examine the collaborative effort's success.
I am thankful for part of IIDA's statement, "Design does not discriminate" which encouraged my path to unapologetically design for inmates.
As I visit Halden Prison and NYC's Van Alen Institute this summer, I know my experiences will provide another step towards a future involving humane prison design.
I am grateful for Kent State University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design Traveling Fellowship Program for allowing me this opportunity!