The Correctional Facility In Nuuk

A correctional facility typically needs to fulfil different criteria than a prison does, but nevertheless gives the architects behind such a facility more freedom to be creative. SHL-architects, accompanied by Friis & Moltke, are the geniuses behind the Nuuk-based facility, and Normasym were chosen as the lighting supplier.

The legal system in Greenland derogates from what is perceived as the norm in the majority of Europe. It even derogates from the Danish legal system, even though it has a direct connection to this in addition to the Danish prison service. This derogation essentially means that Greenlanders work primarily with institutionalisation in correctional facilities instead of imprisonment.

Correctional facilities in Greenland have previously been solely reserved to serving convictions of less serious crimes, whereas convicts of more serious crimes were to serve their time in a Danish prison. This means that this correctional facility is the first closed and secure one of its kind in Nuuk.

The new facility spreads across approximately 8,400 square meters and has the capacity for 76 convicts. It is located in a beautiful and pristine natural area only 7 kilometres from the capital Nuuk. The facility is executed with a high architectural standard, which also meant that there were strict requirements to the lighting.

The Challenge

The fundamental values of the new correctional facility were openness, light and visibility. With light being considered as a fundamental value, we were involved very early on in the construction process. Because even though some of the light comes through a large section of panoramic windows, the artificial lighting has to be an integrated part of the facility and consolidate the security.

To us, this project not only required a lighting solution that matched the high architectural quality, but also required a robust and durable lighting solution.

Two huge panoramic window sections pull light and nature right into the common day room, which means that our primary task was to illuminate the individual rooms, as well as the outdoor areas, working space and visiting room.

One of the unchangeable requirements was that the fixtures had to be built and integrated into the ceilings. This was not only an architectural requirement, as built-in fixtures are sleek and stylish, it was also a security requirement, to prevent dismounting of the fixture. Of course, the fixtures had to have a high IK-rating, to be capable of resisting impacts.

The Solution

To illuminate the individual rooms, the hallways and the staircases, we chose our NS11. An astonishing 636 units of our NS11 were delivered to the facility in Nuuk, and have since then been integrated into the architectural building. NS11 was the right choice for this project, as it is both stylish and minimalistic, which complements the high architectural quality, and is developed specifically to being built into ceilings. The NS11 fixture is furthermore developed with an IK10 rating, which means it is incredibly robust and durable.

To improve the security of the NS11, we delivered every 636 units with special one-way screws. These were screwed directly through the frame of the fixture and into the ceiling, which makes dismounting practically impossible without heavy-duty tools. The NS11 fixtures are therefore ensured to deliver a comfortable light for several years.

Furthermore, we chose to illuminate the outdoor areas, working space and visiting room with 145 wall-mounted NS40s, as well as a large track-system with appertaining NS70s. Just like the NS11, the NS40 is an incredibly stylish and minimalistic fixture that fits the high architectural standard of the facility. NS70 is used primarily for illuminating areas reserved for personnel, as the fixture is more exposed on a track, and therefore vulnerable to vandalism.

These three fixtures are carefully chosen to the correctional facility, to match both architectural and security requirements. The areas, in which the convicts can move around freely, are illuminated with secure built-in fixtures. With the fundamental values being openness, light and visibility, it was important that the fixtures were practically invisible, while the light should merge with the natural light.