Nestled in the rugged terrain of Greenland’s seaside capital, the New Correctional Facility Nuuk offers a setting for progressive rehabilitation and punishment, and a bold statement about the power of architecture to affect human behavior. The building is designed to give inmates a sense of purpose and hope, while allowing families in Nuuk to be reunited.
The building is designed a small village over three levels with residential blocks, workspaces, education and sports facilities, a library, a health center, and a chapel. In addition, there is an administration division and various technical and security installations. The interiors are appointed with traditional Greenland flourishes by local artists to enrich communal areas with landscape paintings, traditional designs, and carve etchings into the perimeter wall.
By providing access to nature, the design aims to diminish physical and psychological violence. This humane facility concept mimics the rhythm and structure of everyday life in the hope that once released, the offenders will have a greater chance of successful reintegration into society, with lower rates of re-offending.
Until the facility opened, serving a sentence for a severe crime committed in Greenland meant relocating some 3,000 kilometers away to Denmark. Inmates, who are currently living in the facility, and the personnel who work with them, now have dramatic seascape views and modern, thoughtful surroundings in which to work and serve their sentence. But the changes will not only affect those within the facility's walls; the building will also make reunification possible between inmates and their families living in Nuuk as inmates will no longer be relocated to Denmark but will instead be able to server their time closer to home.