Competition introduction

Competition organisers

ESSAY: The Architecture 
of Prisons


ESSAY: The Architecture 
of Prisons

Nearly 11 million people around the world are currently living in prisons, with a significant number of those still awaiting trial and sentencing for the crimes they are accused of. The impact of a person’s time in prison is felt not only by them, but by the community at large. Many prisoners are so negatively affected by their experience in prison that they are never able to fully rejoin society.

In many developing countries, prisons are built to western standards, removing inmates from cultural norms, and that has a significant impact on their mental well-being. This also makes it more difficult for those who have served their sentence to function normally in society. 

Bee Breeders, in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS, is calling for essay submissions for their next print publication, “The Architecture of Prisons”, which is planned for release in spring 2021. This essay competition is being run alongside the Prisons Redesigned! architecture competition (, in which participants must envision designs for a new style of prison that could accommodate 600 inmates. Participants are welcome to join either or both of the competitions.

The Architecture of Prisons essay competition is looking for essay submissions on the impact architecture has on inmates and communities. We’ve seen how incarceration affects individuals around the world, causing them severe psychological distress and subjecting them to abuse and physical harm during their sentence. In many instances, this results in long-term changes in behaviour, making it almost impossible for prisoners to become contributing members of society upon release.

How can prisons be effectively re-imagined? What purpose do they serve now and what purpose could they serve in the future? How has a change in design revolutionised institutions in the past? For this essay competition, the jury panel is looking for submissions that show a deep understanding of how architecture and design contribute to these problems, as well as ideas and insights about the power of architecture to correct them.

Submissions from participants related to any field or discipline are welcome, and selected winners will receive monetary awards and will be included in the ARCHHIVE BOOKS “The Architecture of Prisons” publication. 

Do you have something to say about prison architecture?

Download full competition brief for more information!

Competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English. 

Full competition brief

The full competition brief can be downloaded as often as required; no additional information will be provided after registration.



1,000 € + Publication in the book
Total Prize Fund
600 €
Publication in the book
Certificate of Achievement
300 €
Publication in the book
Certificate of Achievement
100 €
Publication in the book
Certificate of Achievement


Selected winners will receive monetary awards and will be included in the next ARCHHIVE BOOKS publication.


Bee Breeders will also acknowledge the outstanding performance of all winners and honourable mentions with Certificates of Achievement.

Jury panel

Jury members shall under no circumstances be contacted by competition participants or their representatives. Participants who attempt to contact jury members, shall be disqualified. 

All communication regarding the competition should only be carried out with Bee Breeders staff. For any questions please contact us on [email protected]



Key dates

Closing date for registration

06 November, 2020

Closing date for project submission

11 December, 2020 (11:59pm GMT+0)

Announcement of the winners

19 February, 2020

Registration fees

  • Early Bird Registration
    14 May - 19 June
  • Architects / Enthusiasts / Companies
    20 €
  • Students
    15 €
+21% VAT
  • Advance Registration
    20 June - 11 September
  • Architects / Enthusiasts / Companies
    25 €
  • Students
    20 €
+21% VAT
  • Last Minute Registration
    12 September - 06 November
  • Architects / Enthusiasts / Companies
    30 €
  • Students
    25 €
+21% VAT

Enter the competition!

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Competition results in media

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Competition related questions

No, we welcome submissions from all industries.

General questions

Click on "register now", fill in all the required fields, choose your payment method and submit your information. You will be forwarded to Paypal or CPS secure payment gateway, to cover the competition fee. Once we receive your payment, we'll send you an email with your username and password to upload your submission directly to the website.
You can add/remove/edit team member information as often as you want in the upload panel, up until the submission deadline.
Participants may submit multiple proposals per registration.
Please contact us – [email protected] and we will address the problem directly.
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