# HISTORY /// Timeline of the Panopticon prison both as an Idea and an Architecture


Prison San Vittore – Milan (built in 1880)

Pedro Hernández (La Periferia Domestica) was kind enough to send me a link towards a site of Manchester school of architecture that traced a concise timeline of the Panopticon prison both as an idea and as an architecture. The following documents are using the same existing examples giving by this site. It is  interesting to observe in this regard that the post-revolution prison in UK and France shifted from the dark dungeon like La Bastille to the enlighten panopticon.  The panopticon, formalized by Jeremy Bentham has been then conceptualized as the paradigmatic scheme of the disciplinary society by Foucault. However this society does not apply to the one we currently live in the Western world (see a previous article about the society of control). Architects should probably get cautious not to attribute to the panopticon the monopoly of the architecture of power as the latter applies itself in it only via the mean of vision.  In fact, the phenomenological application of power will never be as strong as the material one, and the solutions to escape or deceive the former are not as easy  than for the latter.

In this regard, see the series about cinematographic escape on BLDGBLOG (1, 2, 3 & 4)
See also a previous article I wrote about BIG’s immanent panopticon (in opposition to the transcendental one described in this article)
To go further read the good book Forms of Constraint by Norman Johnston

Millbank Prison – London (built in 1821)

Roundhouse – Fremantle (Australia) (built in 1830)

Stateville Correctional Center – Illinois (built in 1925)

Military Prison Isla de la Juventud – Cuba (built in 1931)

Carabanchel Prison – Madrid (built in 1944)

Chi Hua Prison – Ho Chi Minh City (built in 1953)