Savannah Sears
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Sing Sing Prison Museum: Ensamble Preview Center

Designed by Savannah Sears, May Ghadanfar, & Tina Colombus

Designed by Savannah Sears, May Ghadanfar, & Tina Colombus

The story of how we treat each other is still being written. The Sing Sing Museum Preview Center aims to unveil the truth about mass incarceration in the United States and its impacts on our society. 

The preview center will therefore allow for a personalized experience for each visitor in order to understand the current happenings of our justice system and educate public in hopes of sparking a dialogue

The Ensemble preview center at Sing Sing Prison will address the racial bias in our justice system along with the themes of dehumanization and racial oppression, and provide solutions through design thinking. 

The primary audience will be tourists; this includes United States citizens and overseas visitors. The Sing Sing Museum anticipates a potential of 130,000 tourists of all ages per year. The secondary audience will include both inmates’ families & friends, and previously incarcerated individuals. Finally, the tertiary audience will be the local people of Ossining.

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We were inspired by talking portraits at the Bible Museum, open plan spaces that bring the outdoors in, and stepped bleachers. We were also greatly inspired by our research and the people we talked to. A corrections officer shared with us how the cell blocks were no larger than a yoga mat which greatly inspired our designs.

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Rendering by May Ghadanfar

Rendering by May Ghadanfar

Zone 1: People’s stories tells the stories of different activists, formerly incarcerated men, family members, and corrections officers through proximity sensor activated video portraits.

Rendering by May Ghadanfar, digital screens by Savannah Sears

Rendering by May Ghadanfar, digital screens by Savannah Sears

Zone 2: “Through My Eyes” invites visitors to experience the ways in which many people incarcerated in Sing Sing may have lived their life before incarceration through gamification. The goal of the experience is to open the visitors eyes as to how many of these incarcerated people were profiled before incarceration.

Rendering by May Ghadanfar, digital screens by Savannah Sears

Rendering by May Ghadanfar, digital screens by Savannah Sears

Zone 3: Interactive graphics auditorium is designed as a flexible space. The concept around the digital interactive infographics is for people to approach the iPads and get detailed information on prison statistics in the US and Sing Sing but also to share that information with an audience. We also designed this as a possible space for community activities and lectures. The side of the stepped bleachers contains peep holes playing footage from prominent films and documentaries on mass incarceration in the US like Netflix’s 13th.

The video above illustrates how the interactive wall would work.