The Italian Renzo Piano has just completed a house intended for mothers who are serving a prison sentence, in which they will be able to welcome their children. The result is a world away from the typical prison architecture.
The project is called “MA.MA” or “the house of affectivity”. This small building was built inside the Rebibbia women’s prison in Rome. MA.MA is an example of the generosity of architecture, as it recreates “a small piece of home and privacy“, a welcoming space in which the inmates can receive their children. Digging deeper, the idea was to design a space where inmates could both maintain their relationships with loved ones and their role within the family, aimed at facilitating their rehabilitation and reintegration when they leave prison.
Architecture at the service of people
Renzo Piano spoke about this project and “the double guilt of imprisoned women: not only do they serve their sentences, but they are also separated from those they love. To me, this shelter looks like the house that children draw, but it is perhaps also the house imagined for a child by a mother in prison.“
To reinforce this dimension of homeliness, the architects of the G124 Group (created by Piano) designed a building with a double-pitched roof that evokes the very essence of the image of the house. The interior includes a living room, a loggia, a kitchenette and a dining room.
The house is painted red, which gives it a childish and almost cartoony look. The interior also favours natural light and wood finishes to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. MA.MA was assembled by inmates, using prefabricated wood panels produced in the prison carpentry.
Monica Cirinnà, Member of the Italian Parliament, is working on the idea of generalising this type of house in all Italian prisons.