Kilmainhaim Gaol, East Wing
journal contributionposted on 30.07.2019, 00:00 authored by Patrick Callahan
This image was taken during my research abroad in Dublin, Ireland in the East Wing of Kilmainham Gaol (Jail), a building where many important leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and sometimes executed. The prison, built in 1796 and decommissioned in 1924, is an important symbol of the Irish struggle for independence and remains one of the most significant monuments of modern Irish history. My work in Urban Planning and Design explores historic misconceptions of how grandiose architecture and design may control human actions and desires. This image emphasizes the architectural styles of the Victorian Era in a space that was designed and created to control human action. The East Wing, opened in 1864, was inspired by philosopher Jeremy Pentham's "Panopticon" design, which allowed for guards to have 180 or 270 degree views from any position within the wing. Views given to prisoners, however, were tortuous. The individual cells each held one prisoner and contained a single window too high up to see out of and a small peephole on the door which could only be opened by guards looking in. This photo of Kilmainham's East Wing clearly represents my hypothesis that impressive design is only capable of controlling human action when the sole intention of the space is to forcefully perform such a task.