Perception before Cognition


Claustrophobia can be created through architecture, but architecture can also act as a form of therapy for claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is an extreme irrational fear of being in confined spaces, and classified as an anxiety disorder.

A range of scientific research suggests that claustrophobia can be reduced by identifying different situations that trigger undue anxiety. This process consists of cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, virtual reality and floatation. 

Our perception of spaces is mediated through our senses, for example, dim lighting and shadows stimulate imagination and daydreaming, accordingly utilising projections (vision) and ambient sounds to produce a surreal beauty to distract the patient from the confined space.

This thesis aims to use physical claustrophobic architectural space to reduce claustrophobic symptoms. The idea is to create spaces that will trigger anxiety for a person with claustrophobia, while at the same time making these spaces inviting, captivating and dreamlike through projections and audio effects.

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Compression and Release
Mediative Process