The Psychological Effects of Dormitory Architecture and Layout on Residents

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The Psychological Effects of Dormitory Architecture and Layout on Residents

For many students, part of the experience of going to college is living in university housing. With so many young people living in such facilities, it is certainly worth investigating how they affect their denizens from a psychological perspective. It is established that one's environment is a major determinant in one's emotional and mental state. This paper will focus on architectural elements, such as floorspace, room layout, and occupancy levels of University residence halls, and how said design elements enhance or impede human interaction and individual moods. In addition to a general overview of the principles of environmental psychology and how
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The walls of a dormitory are typically not well designed to buffer sound from adjacent units. As one resident of Nathaniel Salley Hall stated, "It's amazing how much sound gets through these concrete walls."

In Architectural Environment and Our Mental Health, Clifford Moller states "Individual identity is cherished and strengthened in periods of solitude and conditions. But this identity-"self-hood"-is not achieved at all without an early and continuous interaction with other persons."(95) Bearing this in mind, while dormitory architecture should provide private space for the individuals living within it, it is of equal importance that it promote a sense of community. Sadly, many Florida State residence halls are built in such a way that community beyond that of room or suite mates is poorly supported. By far the worst offender in this regard is the long double-load hallway. This common structure is the long straight hallway with doors directly across from one another and leading to separate dormitory units. While convenient from a practical standpoint, it is rife with problems in terms of its psychological effects. It creates, according to C.M. Deasy in Designing Places for People, "a no man's land that doesn't belong to anyone"(51). This sort of division of rooms by an area which no one takes direct responsibility for tends to limit social interaction.
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