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This morning, IR has been incredibly excited to receive a visualisation of what the Reading Prison space could look like, courtesy of a David Cooper at Barton Willmore. It opens up the space to both the art and culture of today, plus the history found in the nearby Abbey ruins.

What if we really did use it for art?

Cooper has said of the design: “Having grown up in the area, I chose the prison as the subject of my university work as it has a fascinating history and immense potential. The vision I have created gives Reading the opportunity to reclaim this fantastic space and turn it into a cultural hub. By using the existing fabric and wings of this Victorian masterpiece we would be able to create a multi-use building that is open and easily accessible to all.”

Reading Prison Plans
Art Space
Prison 2

The prison wall and 1970’s additions to the prison are removed and a selection of new structures forming courtyard spaces. The new additions at the corners of the site provide a heritage centre, a café and a gift shop which form connections to the wider area. The addition of a contemporary translucent extension towards the River helps to open up to the river and create a safe environment along the waterside.

There’s been lots of debate about how the space could be used and to IR, this looks fantastic; what are your thoughts?