The Park Of Possibilities

DATE: Saturday 19 Dec 2009

TIME: 4pm sharp


the old watchtower inside the Freedom park complex


Join us in the old Central Jail complex, now adapted into the award winning Freedom Park – ‘where the past appears and disappears as fragments in a dream’.

Walk with Soumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew, partners M/S Mathew Ghosh Architects Private Limited to understand their vision to transform the concept of the Jail with its panoptical prison design, discipline and isolation into an Urban Park – one that welcomes people and experience ‘the beauty of the ruin and the landscape which dissolves, dematerialises and proposes new foci.

You might also wish to join in the workshops, see the exhibits and performances, which are part of the ongoing Dance Jathre 09, organised by the Shambavi School of Dance at the same venue (


If you are approaching KR Circle from Vidhana Soudha then at the circle turn right onto Seshadri Road. The park entrance is a few hundred metres to your left on this road. Parking is available near the entrance. (it might be crowded due to the ongoing Dance Jathre)


BBMP charges a nominal entry fee to enter the park


Photocredit: Krupa Rajangam & Mathew & Ghosh Architects Pvt Ltd.

The 'grand' plan was to have a design walk by Soumitro Ghosh, partner Mathew Ghosh Architects – the team responsible for transforming Central Jail into Freedom park, followed by a skit by MPSR Foundation and Daya Prasad and finally a powerpoint of old photos of Central Jail by Suresh Jayaram.

The latter two had to be cancelled and just the walk was announced for 4 pm. A pretty good crowd turned up on the day but was mainly composed of either architects or architecture students.

The walk started at the Old Watchtower in the centre of the park. Dr Evelin Hust, Director Goethe Institut/MMB-Bangalore introduced BCP to the audience and handed over to Soumitro Ghosh. He spoke about the transformation of the Jail complex into ‘ a Park of Possibilities’ one which could be used and interpreted in different ways by different users. The walk ended informally at the open-air theatre where the Shambavi School of Dance was hosting its Dance Jatre 09 over two days between the 19th and 20th Dec 2009.


The architects decentralised the original axis by planning a new entrance to the side of the original gateway, which is currently being transformed into a Jail Museum.

Interventions include the new entryway, a multipurpose hall near it with an open-air theatre and a smaller covered auditorium on either side of the hall while the hospital block to the rear is being adapted into a café cum gallery.

The central watch tower was restored by removing later additions around it, exposing the original structure. A plaza was planned near it.

The original gallows that were to be retained were stolen at some point and hence recreated. Similarly a number of other parts of the structure like the roof truss of the cellblocks and the CI railings around the inner court also disappeared in the time (couple of years) between the closing of the jail and commencement of work on site.

The enclosing walls of a number of the old cellblocks remain but the blocks are kept locked up! People are not allowed to walk through them and experience the space. (We had to get permission to have them opened up for the event). Footprints of certain cellblocks that had to be demolished (being exposed to the elements, the walls gradually collapsed over time) have been retained. Thus one is able to visualise the original panoptic design of the Jail complex from the tower.

The tall walls on either side of the original gateway leading to the central watchtower have been retained and walking along this passage gives one a strong sense of enclosure.

Overall, a good event for BCP to end the year with.


Mathew Ghosh Architects Pvt Ltd.
Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore

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