No longer a prison: The logistics and politics of transforming a prison as work of architecture

Sepideh Karami*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article discusses the political role of architectural work and design in transforming a prison into a museum and recreational center. The text focuses on Qasr Prison, the first civil prison in Iran, designed by the Russian-Iranian architect Nikolai Markov in 1927 in Tehran. Built in 1790, the prison’s site was originally a royal palace; it is from this that its name, Qasr—meaning palace—was taken. Later, in 1953, a new building was added out of necessity, due to the increasing number of political prisoners. It was only in 2003 that the prison was shut down. In 2008, a decision was made to transform it into a museum and a recreational center, and it became Qasr Museum-Garden. The text expands the role of architecture beyond the design of the building and into designing carceral logistics as well as constructing performing grounds for state propaganda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-433
JournalSpace and Culture
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • carceral logistics
  • dark tourism
  • prison architecture
  • prison–museum
  • Qasr Prison
  • renovation
  • Tehran

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