St. Paul’s Cathedral features an innovative triple dome structure. On the circular drum, the inner dome rises and is visible from the cathedral interior. Above this inner dome, a brick cone rises to support the 850 ton lantern. This brick cone also supports the wood rafters and frame of the outer dome, which is covered in wood and lead.
This three dome system allows the cathedral to support such a heavy lantern, all the while maintaining the great height needed to be a visible London landmark.
Created in Sketchup and animated in Final Cut Pro
Developed with input from James Campbell at the Cambridge University: Department of Architecture
With music from the organ (William Tell’s Overture) and bells of St Paul’s Cathedral (recorded 2013)
Virtual Reality Model
Click to Play
This scale model is created from measured plans of the structure, and is accurate to the foot. The dome of St. Paul’s consists of four interlinked structures:
The Inner Dome – visible from the cathedral interior and purely for show; height = 225 ft (69 m)
The Middle Dome – a brick cone that is invisible from below but supports the 850 ton lantern above; height = 278 ft (85 m)
The Outer Dome – a wood and lead-roofed structure visible from the cathedral exterior; height = 278 ft (85 m)
The Lantern – an 850 ton stone lantern and cross, whose weight rests on the Middle Dome = 365ft (111 m)
The Inner and Outer Domes are decorative, while the Middle Dome is the true weight-bearing support system.
A Case Study of Eastern State Penitentiary: 1821-1877
Master’s dissertation at Cambridge University: Department of Art History & Architecture
View of Cellblocks and Guard Tower
Eastern State Penitentiary Guard Tower
The perfect disciplinary apparatus would make it possible for a single gaze to see everything constantly. A central point would be both the source of light illuminating everything, and a locus of convergence for everything that must be known: a perfect eye that nothing would escape and a centre towards which all gazes would be turned.
– Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1975
The central question facing prison design is: What purpose does prison serve? To pain the prisoner, lead them to self-reflection, or equip them with job skills to re-enter society? Society’s response to this question informs the prison’s design and appearance.
Prison Floor Plan in 1836
After defining prison’s purpose – be that a mixture of punishment or rehabilitation – what architectural form best reflects this purpose? There is a moral, religious, economic, and political agenda embedded in prison design. Given the diversity of design responses, this research focuses on one case study: Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in operation 1829-1971).
Why this prison? This was one of America’s oldest (begun 1821), largest (from 400-1500 inmates), most expensive ($552,000 initial construction cost), and one of the first prisons to confine every prisoner in absolute solitary confinement (until officially ending in 1913).
Four themes offer an analytical lens for this case study.
Historical: This building emerged from the efforts of Quakers, merchants, and civic leaders in the Philadelphia Prison Society. Their observations of disease, existing prisons, and the justice system shaped their innovations in prison design. The architecture spoke to their belief that the loneliness of confinement architectures would lead prisoners to self-examination and change.
Architectural: This arrangement with hundreds of individual cells radiating from a central observation tower allowed a few guards to observe hundreds of prisoners. Architecture allowed guards to communicate with and observe prisoners but prevented prisoners from communicating with each other. Analysis of this geography of incarceration will reveal how architecture regulated communication and observation.
FOLLOW THE MONEY! Click image for full size flow chart.
Educational: This prison architecture reflected the educational agenda and intentions of the people who built it. There are two aspects of this theme.
Religion: The external appearance and internal configuration should inspire remorse in prisoners and visitors. The strategic use of medieval ornament on the castle exterior, the interior corridors that evoked a medieval cathedral, and the solitary cells modeled on monasteries reflected builders’ interpretation of historic precedents.
Solitary Labor: Cells and surveillance areas were designed to extract labor from prisoners. The prison administration used architecture as a tool to control and observe individual prisoners at work. Labor was intended to be both profitable to the institution and educational to the prisoners.
Institutional: This prison design fits into larger debates on how architecture shapes human behavior. Jeremy Bentham proposed in 1787 that a utopian society was possible through a “perfect” circular prison called the panopticon (a building resembling Eastern State). Michel Foucault proposed in his 1975 book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison that Bentham’s panopticon symbolized the modern and dystopian surveillance state. Eastern State is, therefore, a case study to critique Bentham and Foucault’s theories of surveillance and institutional power. This analysis of architecture and solitary confinement will situate and ground Bentham and Foucault’s theories in a case study.
Eastern State drawn as a castle from Old Europe
Each of four themes comprises one chapter in this dissertation. The debates surrounding solitary confinement are as relevant today as they were 200 years ago, as America continues to grapple with problems in prison design.
This NYC tour follows the route of Kenneth T. Jackson’s night tour. As a Columbia University undergraduate, I joined Jackson’s 2016 night tour of NYC by bike, from Harlem, down the spine of Manhattan, and over the bridge to Brooklyn.
With a heavy heart, I gathered my courage on 30 March 2020 to revisit my beloved NYC, along this same route in the now sleeping city attacked by an invisible pathogen. The empty streets hit me with emotions in the misty and rainy weather – perhaps fitting for the poor spirits the city is in.
Eastern State Penitentiary was completed in 1829 in northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by architect John Haviland. It was the most expensive and largest structure yet built in America.
The design featured a central guard tower from which seven cell blocks radiated like a star. This system allowed a single guard to survey all prisoners in one sweep of the eye. A square perimeter wall surrounded the entire complex – thirty feet high and twelve feet thick. The decorative entrance resembled a medieval castle, to strike fear of prison into those passing. This castle contained the prison administration, hospital, and warden’s apartment.
As we approach the central tower, we see two kinds of cells. The first three cell blocks were one story. The last four cell blocks were two stories. Here we see the view from the guard tower, over the cell block roofs and over the exercise yards between. Each cell had running water, heating, and space for the prisoner to work. Several hundred prisoners lived in absolute solitary confinement. A vaulted and cathedral-like corridor ran down the middle of each cell block. The cells on either side were stacked one above the other. Cells on the lower floor had individual exercise yards, for use one hour per day. John Haviland was inspired by Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. (Don’t know what the panopticon is? Click here for animation.)
Over its century in use, thousands visited and admired this design. An estimated 300 prisons around the world follow this model – making Eastern State the most influential prison ever designed.
360° Panoramic View from Guard Tower
Virtual Reality Computer Model
Shows prison as it appeared in the period 1836 to 1877 before later construction obstructed the original buildings.
When visiting Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, author Alexis de Tocqueville remarked in his 1831 report to the French government on the state of American prisons:
This Penitentiary is the only edifice in this country, which is calculated to convey to our citizens the external appearance of those magnificent and picturesque castles of the middle ages, which contribute so eminently to embellish the scenery of Europe. 
This penitentiary was, at its 1829 opening, the most expensive and largest structure ever built in the United States. Costing $432,000, this building covered a square area 670 feet to a side with walls 30-feet-high by 12-feet-thick and 23-feet-deep at the foundations. Inside, there was: “an entire seclusion of convicts from society and from one another, as that, during the period of their confinement, no one shall see or hear, or be seen or heard by any human being, except the jailor.” About 400 prisoners were equipped with running water, steam heating, individual exercise yards, and (later) gas lighting. These were “luxuries” that newspapers claimed not even the city’s wealthiest citizens could afford, and in an era when the U.S. White House lacked internal plumbing. The Register of Pennsylvania described in February 1830:
The rooms are larger, viz. containing more cubic feet of air, or space, than a great number of the apartments occupied by industrious mechanics in our city; and if we consider that two or more of the latter frequently work or sleep in the same chamber, they have much less room than will be allotted to the convicts [who live one to a room and] whose cells, moreover will be more perfectly ventilated than many of the largest apartments of our opulent citizens.
Given the modern standards of service, technology, and location of this prison, it seems an odd choice to employ the external appearance of a medieval castle. American society lacked the medieval heritage of “old Europe.” The external castle appearance looked to history, while the internal facilities and technology all spoke of a modern future. Robin Evans explained the frequent use of castle imagery as follows: “It was the idea of the prison, not the fact of the prison, that was to engage the architect’s imagination, and the idea of the prison was built up from historical associations.”
Of the several thousand visitors, tourists, and school children who passed through this attraction and the millions more who merely saw it from a distance, the imposing castle appearance was inescapable. In 1866, 76,000 visited, a large number considering more people visited as tourists than as prisoners. In this same era: “The governments of Great Britain, France, Russia, and Belgium, followed each other in quick succession in these missions; and the printed official reports was subsequently issued, accompanied as they were by illustrative drawings, spread through Europe the fame of what was then generally regarded as a remarkable example of reform.” Architect John Haviland (1792-1852) – known to contemporaries as the “jailor to the world” – was a neo-classical architect by training and designed few other Gothic buildings over his 40-year career. He intended these medieval battlements, narrow-slit windows, and portcullis gates to “strike fear into those who passed,” an instructive lesson to those contemplating a career in crime. Unexpected still is the fact that half the $432,000 construction cost was spent on the semi-decorative perimeter wall and external ornament, features not linked to reforming felons within and, in fact, invisible to the felons. Yet, according to de Tocqueville, “It is of all prisons that which requires least a high enclosing wall, because each prisoner is isolated in his cell, which he never leaves.” Why were Philadelphia’s political leaders and prison reformers so concerned with keeping up appearances?
This essay will present reasons for employing medieval imagery. Through analyzing the secular, cultural, and political reasons for this choice of style, we can understand the moral and educational agenda embedded in Eastern State’s appearance. By analyzing the appearance and practice of solitary confinement taken here from 1829 to 1877, we can, by extension, understand more about the hundreds of radial prisons derived from Eastern State.
I am indebted to my supervisor Max Sternberg, to my baby bulldog, and to my ever-loving parents for criticizing and guiding this paper.
 Gustave de Beaumont and Alexis de Tocqueville, “Construction of the Prisons,” in On the Penitentiary System in the United States: And its Application in France; with an Appendix on Penal Colonies, and also, Statistical Notes (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, & Blanchard, 1833): 74.  W. Roscoe, “Prison Discipline: Letter II,” National Gazette and Literary Register, 20 September 1827. From the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Historical Newspapers Collection.  Richard E. Greenwood, “Nomination form for Eastern State Penitentiary,” United States National Park Service, https://npgallery.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/66000680 (accessed 25 January 2020). This is the application submitted to protect this prison as a listed structure.  Samuel Hazard, “Description of the Eastern Penitentiary of Penn’a,” The Register of Pennsylvania: devoted to the preservation of facts and documents and every other kind of useful information respecting the state of Pennsylvania 5, no. 7, 13 February 1830, 105.  Robin Evans, “The Model Prison,” in The Fabrication of Virtue: English prison architecture, 1750-1840 (Cambridge University Press: 1982): 382-83.  Jeffrey A. Cohen, David G. Cornelius, et al., “Construction and Alterations, 1822-65,” Eastern State Penitentiary: Historic Structures Report (Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force, 1994): 88.  “County Prisons,” in The Pennsylvania Journal of Prison Discipline 10, no. 2 (Philadelphia, 1855): 60.  Norman B. Johnston, “John Haviland, Jailor to the World,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 23, no. 2 (1964): 101-05, doi:10.2307/988164.  John Haviland (author) and Hugh Bridgport (artist), The builder’s assistant containing the five orders of architecture, selected from the best specimens of the Greek and Roman (Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1818-1821).  Julie Nicoletta, “The Architecture of Control: Shaker Dwelling Houses and the Reform Movement in Early-Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 62, no. 3 (2003): 374, doi:10.2307/3592519.  Gustave de Beaumont and Alexis de Tocqueville, “Construction of the Prisons,” in On the Penitentiary System in the United States: And its Application in France; with an Appendix on Penal Colonies, and also, Statistical Notes (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, & Blanchard, 1833): 74.  1829: prison opened. 1877: prison significantly expanded and operations restructured. “Timeline,” Eastern State Penitentiary, https://www.easternstate.org/research/history-eastern-state/timeline (accessed 25 January 2020).
3D Floor Plan
Floor Plan Showing Extent of Vision from Central Guard Tower
Abstract: The Berlin Evolution Animation visualizes the development of this city’s street network and infrastructure from 1415 to the present-day, using an overlay of historic maps. The resulting short film presents a series of 17 “cartographic snapshots” of the urban area at intervals of every 30-40 years. This process highlights Berlin’s urban development over 600 years, the rapid explosion of industry and population in the 19th century, followed by the destruction and violence of two world wars and then the Cold War on Berlin’s urban fabric.
Animation der Wandlung Berlins
Zusammenfassung: Auf der Grundlage von historischen Karten visualisiert die „Animation der Wandelung Berlins“ die Entwicklung des Straßennetzwerks und der Infrastruktur Berlins von 1415 bis heute. In diesem kurzen Video wird eine Serie von 17 „kartographischen Momentaufnahmen“ der Stadt in einem Intervall von 30 – 40 Jahren präsentiert. Dadurch wird die Entwicklung der Stadt Berlin über 600 Jahre, das rapide Wachstum der Industrie und Bevölkerung im 19. Jahrhundert, die Zerstörung und Gewalt der zwei Weltkriege und abschließend des Kalten Krieges auf Berlins Stadtbild verdeutlicht.
German translations by Richard Zhou and Carl von Hardenberg
Year, Event and Estimated Population 1415 – Medieval Berlin – 7,000
1648 – Thirty Years War – 6,000
1688 – Berlin Fortress – 19,000
1720 – Rise of Prussian Empire – 65,000
1740 – War with Austria – 90,000
1786 – Age of Enlightenment – 147,000
1806 – Napoleonic Wars – 155,000
1840 – Industrial Revolution – 329,000
1875 – German Empire – 967,000
1920 – Greater Berlin – 3,879,000
1932 – Rise of Fascism – 4,274,000
1945 – Extent of Bomb Damage – 2,807,000
1950 – Germania – World Capital
1953 – Recovery from War – 3,367,000
1961 – Berlin Wall – 3,253,000
1988 – A City Divided – 3,353,000
Contemporary – A City United Census year
Jahr, Ereignis und geschätzte Anzahl von Bewohnern
1415 – Berlin im Mittelalter – 7,000
1648 – Der Dreißigjährige Krieg – 6.000
1688 – Die Festung Berlin – 19.000
1720 – Der Aufstieg des Königreichs Preußen – 65,000
1740 – Der Österreichische Erbfolgekrieg – 90.000
1786 – Das Zeitalter der Aufklärung – 147.000
1806 – Die Koalitionskriege – 155.000
1840 – Die industrielle Revolution – 329.000
1875 – Das Deutsche Kaiserreich – 967.000
1920 – Groß-Berlin – 3.879.000
1932 – Der Aufstieg des Faschismus – 4.274.000
1945 – Die Spuren des 2. Weltkrieges – 2.807.000
1950 – Germania – Welthauptstadt
1953 – Deutsches Wirtschaftswunder – 3.367.000
1961 – Die Berliner Mauer – 3.253.000
1988 – Eine geteilte Stadt – 3.353.000
Heute – Eine wiedervereinte Stadt Jahr der Volkszählung
Methodology and Sources
I chose not to represent urban development before 1415 for three reasons: Firstly, there are too few accurate maps of the city before this time. Secondly, I needed to find accurate maps that had visual style consistent with later years, to enable easier comparison of development over time. Thirdly, the extent of urban development and population is limited (fewer than 10,000 Berliners).
There are numerous maps showing Berlin’s urban growth. But, few of them are drawn to the same scale, orientation and color palette. This makes it more difficult to observe changes to the city form over time. Fortunately, three map resources show this development with consistent style.
The Historischer Atlas von Berlin (by Johann Marius Friedrich Schmidt) published 1835 represents Berlin in the selected years of: 1415, 1648, 1688, 1720, 1740, 1786. This atlas is available, free to view and download, at this link.
After the year 1786, I rely on three books from cartographer Gerd Gauglitz:
Berlin – Geschichte des Stadtgebietsin vier Karten Contains four beautiful maps of Berlin from 1806, 1920, 1988 and 2020. Read article. Berlin – Vier Stadtpläne im Vergleich Contains four maps from 1742, 1875, 1932 and 2017. Read article. Berlin – Vier Stadtpläne im VergleichErgänzungspläne Contains four maps from 1840,1953, 1988 and 1950. The last map from 1950 is purely speculative and shows Berlin as it would have looked had Germany won WWII and executed Albert Speer’s plans for rebuilding the city, named “Germania.” Read article.
Gerd Gaulitz’s three map books can be purchased from Schropp Land & Karte.
Below is an interactive map I created of the Berlin Wall’s route and the four Allied occupation areas:
Population statistics in the 17 “cartographic snapshots” are estimates. The historical development of Berlin’s population is known for a few years. For other years, the population is estimated with regards to the two censuses between which the year of the “snapshot” falls.
New York City has some of the world’s cleanest drinking water. It is one of only a few American cities (and among those cities the largest) to supply completely unfiltered drinking water to nine million people. This system collects water from around 2,000 square miles of forest and farms in Upstate New York, transports this water in up to 125 miles of buried aqueducts, and delivers one billion gallons per day, enough to fill a cube ~300 feet to a side, or the volume of the Empire State Building. This is one of America’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects. It remains, however, largely invisible and taken for granted. When they drink a glass of water or wash their hands, few New Yorkers remind themselves of this marvel in civil engineering they benefit from.
This animated map illustrates the visual history of this important American infrastructure.
New York City is surrounded by saltwater and has few sources of natural freshwater. From the early days, settlers dug wells and used local streams. But, as the population grew, these sources became polluted. Water shortages allowed disease and fire to threaten the city’s future. In response, city leaders looked north, to the undeveloped forests and rivers of Upstate New York. This began the 200-year-long search for clean water for the growing city.
Gergely Baics – advice on GIS skills and animating water history
Kenneth T. Jackson – infrastructure history
Juan F. Martinez and Wright Kennedy – data
I created this animation with information from New York City Open Data about the construction and location of water supply infrastructure. Aqueduct routes are traced from publicly-available satellite imagery and old maps in NYPL digital collections. Thanks is also due to Juan F. Martinez, who created this visualization.
Explore water features in the interactive map below. Click color-coded features to reveal detail.
WatershedsSubsurface AqueductsSurface AqueductsWater Distribution Tunnels City Limits
Postmodernist thinkers, like Michel Foucault, interpret Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, invented c.1790, as a symbol for surveillance and the modern surveillance state.
This lecture is in two parts. First, I present a computer model of the panopticon, built according to Bentham’s instructions. Then, I identify design problems with the panopticon and with the symbolism people often give it.
“To say all in one word, [the panopticon] will be found applicable, I think,
without exception, to all establishments whatsoever”
– Jeremy Bentham
Since the 1780s, hundreds of articles discuss Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. But, no structure was ever built to the exact dimensions Bentham gives in his panopticon letters. Seeking to translate Bentham into the digital age, I followed his directions and descriptions to create an open source, virtual reality computer model of the panopticon.
Below, you can view the animation about this structure. Visit this link to view the panopticon in virtual reality. Or click here to download and edit my model (requires Sketchup).
Transcription of audio narration:
The panopticon is the form of the ideal prison, designed around 1787 by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Over 300 prisons around the world follow this model:
A circle of diameter 100 feet
Around the perimeter of this circle stretch cells
Each cell is 9 feet deep
And 48 per floor
Each cell has a toilet, a bed, and space to work
The cells rise six floors
On every other floor, there is a surveillance corridor, in which a guard may survey two floors of prisoners. The guard watches the prisoners. But the prisoners do not see the guard and do not know when they are watched. And must therefore act as if they were always watched. Three guards each see 96 prisoners, which makes 288 prisoners total.
In the center of the space, there is an auditorium, in which the prisoners may assemble to be lectured. A wall of screens may rise surrounding the chapel. And separating the prisoners from seeing into it, or from seeing each other from across the void of the empty space in middle.
Spiral staircases ascend through the space. And an iron and glass frame rises through the space and vaults over the chapel.
This completes the panopticon, the form of the ideal prison.
In fall 2019, the company that manages free wifi hotspots and advertising screens in downtown Newark invited me to display some of my artwork on their screens. I selected to exhibit drawings from my Vanishing Newark project. Images of this work on digital display are featured below:
Two watercolors of Port Newark
Pastel of Broad Street Station
Above: Port Newark. Below: Pulaski Skyway in pastel
Pastel of rail bridge in Port Newark
Watercolor of Murphy Varnish Factory
Above: Railroad drawbridge in Port Newark. Below: Empty freight yard
This ink on paper drawing represents ~1,000 hours of work over three years. The dimensions are 45 inches high by 79 inches wide (114 cm by 201 cm).
This panorama shows NYC looking northwest from above Governor’s Island and Red Hook. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Staten Island are outside the frame. The view is accurate as of summer 2017 and does not include buildings built after this time. View on Google Earth where this image is taken from.
The image features between eight and ten thousand buildings. For the largest and most important buildings, more attention is paid to detail. All of Manhattan’s bridges and major parks are included. Any buildings excluded were done so because they were either too small, too distant to include, or not visible from the angle this image is taken.