Environment of Claustrophobia

Christiane Hütter

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To produce an environment of claustrophobia and agoraphobia two parameters are important. 

At first there is the minimum of space every person needs and the distance between 2 persons or a person and an object. Every person needs a minimum space of 30 cm diameter, while standing. In motion people need a minimum space of 1 m. These datas are only valid in loneliness. In a group of people the space we need changes, dependent on the social status of the others. In cities for example these distance zones can not be always retained, which causes stress and in some cases mentally illnesses. The second important parameter to produce claustrophobia or agoraphobia is density. In dense cities people live very close to each other. Anonymity predominates everything. People feel crowded and alone. On the opposite there are hugh uncontrollable spaces. People feel left alone and helpless. They are afraid of staying in the big space and want to escape.

To produce different densities, the amount of flats changes from a maximum of 95% flats to a minimum of 15% flats from ground floor to the last floor. 

For accessibility there are corridors, which are placed in two different directions, which change every storey to create intersectionpoints. These intersectionpoints are used as vertical accessibility and also as vertical places. So parallel to the decreasing density the corridors are increasing. As a result more intersectionpoints and therefore more voids and vertical places are produced. To add another complexity the accessibility increases from the lowest storey to the highest. This creates disorientation. Fear occurs faster when people are disoriented and when they can´t see the escape possibility. 

The flattypes also change in order to the different density. On the first floors mostly narrow and long flattypes are arranged. They are producing claustrophobia. On the upper floors the flats get wider and increase, which causes more space for corridors and voids. They create agoraphobia. The voids of the building are also increasing in the upper floors.