I'm Will Alsop, and I'm an architect. For the last two months, I've been working in prison, and I've been visiting a particular group of prisoners, long-term prisoners, at Gartree in Leicestershire, and working with them towards making perhaps a better prison. And I think this exemplifies something that I'm particularly interested in, because I think that we're living at a time (I'm now talking as an architect) where there's no predominant style, or set of manners, or particular way of making architecture, and I think that's a marvellous, a marvellous time. That's a diversity; it's something that ultimately that will enrich our towns and cities, and I think ultimately that's what people want. They don't want it all the same; they don't want to be subjected to a particular theory. I've discovered that I like working with people, because if there is no predominant style or way of making architecture, where does the architecture come from? And it comes from a different place, a different conversation perhaps. I think it's terribly important to work with people that might be using it or, in this particular case, subjected to it involuntarily of course. And I found there that on my first visit I was a new pair of ears, so they just grumbled about the existing regime and then...
...on the next visit they began to be a little bit more creative about what they could do. I had to remember that these are highly institutionalised people; they've all been there for a long time, and they expect some will, some will die there. They do regard the prisoner as their home - it is their home, they've got nowhere else to go.
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