Architects As Violators Of Human Rights
Human rights are some of the basic rights that provides freedom to people to live peacefully. It comes in effect not only in the time of constitutional crisis but also on everyday basis, where architectural work is usually conducted. Spaces connect people to architecture not only physically or mentally but also socially. Henry Lefebvre states that “Social space is the lived space which refers to the use of space by human beings and also the transformation of space while its usage”. Any space can be used to torture human beings, it does not have to stand out as solitary isolation cell or prison. Even though prisoners have committed some heinous crimes or have broken the law, their rights do not depend on what they do. Society can maintain a standard of morality and decency.
The construction of a new execution chamber at San Quentin, California was totally violating the human rights. It consisted of chambers that were four times larger than the old ones, three witness viewing rooms, four telephones with different telephone lines in case of some last minute pardons and a speaker so that the prisoner ,to be executed, would be able to share his final words. Basically, it was used for killing the prisoners violating the Code of Ethics. According to AIA Code of Ethics (1.4): “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavours”. Apart from this, human rights were never mentioned in the code of ethics. So, the architects were left by themselves to interpret what it means and how to use it.
Earlier, the prisons were called as penitentiaries and the people who went there were known as penitents .So the main motive was to send the penitents to the prison and give them a Bible to study so that they could return to the good community. Later, it started becoming worse by the formations of reformatories which were no less than hellholes. The name of the prison was constantly changing but the condition inside was worsening.
Recently, there are organisations made to encourage the architects not to take up projects like forming inhumane prisons and execution chambers. Architects on their own cannot make a transformation to the criminal justice system but at least not take part in it.
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