MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo

MEIAC is situated on the area of the former prison of Badajoz, which was constructed in the middle fifties in the place of a former military fortification, called Fuerte de Pardaleras, and raised in the 17th century. In spite of the fact that it had been completely demolished before the prison was built, the fortification was located in a very strategic position, and constituted one of the most important defensive emplacements of the Vauban fort system that surrounded the city.

The “Prisión Preventiva y Correccional” (preventive and correctional prison) of Badajoz had been designed by technicians from the Board of Prisons during the first years of the post-war period, in 1951, although it was not finished until 1958. Initially conceived as a building to whose construction had to contribute its very inmates waiting for redemption of sentences, the architecture of the prison copied the model of a central tower with a surrounding set of circular cells, inspired by Bentham’s panopticon.

The materials used in the construction of the correctional institution reminded the shortages of those times: reinforced concrete only in the structure of the main tower, bearing walls for the rest of the dependences, Arabic tile covering… More than a hundred years after the formulation of the principles of Bentham's panopticon, the abandoned prison evoked the crumbling of that model, and the remains of its architectonic machinery evoked the bitter recollections of its authoritarian function.