Perimeter Security for Indian Youth
Architect: Mark Ryan/mark ryan studio_architects
Block Producer: Superlite Block, an Oldcastle Company
RE-JUV for the Colorado River Indian Tribes is a project geared to the needs of at-risk youth offenders within the reservation. With part new construction and part existing facility renovation, RE-JUV balances the pragmatics of site, layout and adjacencies against the need for low maintenance, simple materials, appropriate spatial dynamics and natural light.
CMUs provide design and structure
In their response, designers at Mark Ryan Studio Architects saved and repurposed 95 percent of the existing structure. While visually dynamic, the semi- circular form is derived not from art, but rather to ensure line-of-sight for staff stationed equidistant from all sleeping rooms. A simple, natural palette of materials is employed with the goal of decreasing operational and long-term maintenance costs— integrally colored concrete masonry and a minimum of paint — while remaining dynamic and appropriate to the pragmatics of use. Concrete block is applied as a post-tensioned insulated system that achieves an R-value sufficient to allow the exterior finish to simultaneously be the interior finish. Like other materials used on this project, the concrete block is locally sourced.
Natural light is abundant throughout RE-JUV. Large windows offer views to the landscape and the sky. Shifting from traditional detention-grade furnishings, this project uses lightweight, easily movable varieties to facilitate frequent rearrangement of the spaces and a less institutional demeanor. Another shift eliminates all barbed wire or razor ribbon. The enclosure for outdoor recreation incorporates anti-climb mesh and is planted with a combination of thorny vines around the perimeter, allowing the landscape to double as the security perimeter. The goal is that this project, although modest in scale, will act, beyond the boundaries of this specific site and circumstance, as a catalyst for positive change and progressive thinking within the larger tribal community. RE-JUV alludes to the building’s double roles as a regional juvenile facility and its goal of “rejuvenation” in the lives of the children it serves.