NewSchool of Architecture and Design Student Named 2012 AIA Justice Research Scholar

Erin Costino will create a database of national justice and law enforcement building projects this summer


NewSchool of Architecture and Design Student Named 2012 AIA Justice Research Scholar

NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) student Erin Costino won the competitive American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Justice Research Scholarship, which is given to emerging professionals to conduct research in the area of justice facilities. Her project is to create a database of building projects that will provide a resource for architects and designers to search for information about justice-related projects, such as correctional facilities, law enforcement offices and courthouse.

The database will be based on building projects documented in the Justice Facilities Review, a journal produced by the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ). The database is intended to help architects and designers instantly identify relevant examples and best practices as they conduct research for their own projects. The research is important since justice-related architecture projects include developing designs that address security measures and exploring ways to encourage greater rehabilitation outcomes.

“The database will synthesize all of the information and articles from the Review so the architecture and design community can search projects and discuss basic things like what construction costs and which design elements were chosen,” Costino said. “I hope it becomes an exhaustive directory that is easily accessible to everyone in the justice community.”

Costino, who will work on the project this summer from San Diego, will also design search criteria which will allow users to “start seeing trends, what works and what doesn’t in terms of efficiency and rehabilitation so we can positively influence future designs,” she explained. While working on this project, Costino will gain great exposure to all the projects covered in the Justice Facilities Review, including the design and construction of correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies and courthouses.

The Justice Research Scholarship is awarded after a national application process. Costino, who is receiving a stipend for the project, will work under the guidance of professional architects and designers. Her work will be published to the AIA websites this fall.

“We are proud of Erin’s accomplishments and are regularly seeking similar opportunities for our students through professional organizations like the AIA,” said Ellyn Lester, the director of Career Services. “Preparing our students for practice is a priority, as are our own efforts to work closely with the professional community to identify employment and internship prospects, and research and project opportunities.”

The database project complements Costino’s background and interest in justice architecture. At NSAD, where she is in the Master of Architecture program, Costino focuses her interest in justice architecture as it relates to courthouse and correctional facility designs. She is also interested in exploring ways architecture and design can contribute to lowering recidivism rates.