Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

George Dodds

Committee Members

C.A. Debelius, Marleen Davis


The Panopticon, designed by Jeremy Bentham in 1787, is an architectural device based on isolation of people and surveillance -knowledge focused in places of power. The Panopticon was influential as an architectural paradigm, easily adapted to varied uses. Bentham as did other utilitarian eighteenth century philosophers believed the built environment could fabricate virtue.

The techniques of the Panopticon were applied to the central task of fabricating normality, rather than the peripheral task of rectifying abnormality. Michel Foucault brought the moral engineering to the fore and showed that it was put in place to conduct 'normatively self-disciplining subjects.' As normative control methods became more prevalent methods of privacy protection developed in parallel. The notion of sensibility the personal consciousness required to guarantee a preferred normative responseemerged as one method to ensure privacy and protect social appearances.

This thesis will develop a language for architecture analogous to sensibility. Just as all people remain ultimately unknowable, the thesis will highlight false truths hypocrisy, defiance and conformity and balance opposites. The vehicle used to explore the tenuous line of sensibility is a Planned Parenthood facility in Charleston, SC. The site is an abandon eighteenth century jail, which is representative of the eighteenth century prison reform movement. The ironic pairing of program and site, combined with the security concerns creates an opportunity to decipher the subtle language of subversion.

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