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4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

Antidepressant Infrastructure for Vertical Cities

Experimental approach to investigate antidepressant structures for regions in rapid
Krystyna Januszkiewicz (Mentor), Sylwia Gudaczewska, Piotr Orowski
West Pomeranian University of Technology
Szczecin, Poland

Architecture is a powerful field that has an impact on human There are 350 million people that live with
life. Advanced urbanization brings a lot of advantages to society, depression today. It affects people of all nationalities and ages,
but also far-reaching side consequences. Big, noisy and polluted regardless of social status. The number of people
metropolises with a high concentration of people, contribute to suffering from depression is constantly growing and the
the deepening of a depressive state of civilization. The first parts
of the paper define the existing problems influencing depression,
World Health Organization estimates that in 2030 it
which are: lack of nature and sunlight, noise and pollution in big could be the most widespread disease in the world. This
cities. It then goes on to attempt to solve the problem through increasing number is harmful to humanity, declines
architectural design, which involves the latest technology. economic activity, increases social costs and suicides [2].
Buildings located in an unfriendly urban environment could be
designed as a living structure that collects inputs - negative and Defining depression is extremely difficult. For many years,
positive ones - from the environment and processes them. Positive scientists around the world have been trying to discover
inputs such as sunlight and rainwater are collected and reused, the mechanism of depression. Depressive disorders appear
and negative inputs such as noise and pollution are neutralized or
for different reasons: genetic, neurobiological or
processed into positives, creating a friendly urban habitat.
environmental. Today, most neuroscientists agree that
This study highlights a social problem, such as depression, the biological determinants of this disease are associated
resulting from rapid industrialization and urbanization, and with disorders of the brain or nervous system.
serves as a useful background for further research on the Neurotransmitters whose disorders especially affect proper
possibilities of redefining sustainable and human friendly design. working of human endocrine are serotonin (hormone of
happiness), melatonin, and norepinephrine [3]. Despite
architecture; depression; high-rise; vertical city; skyscraper; scientific knowledge and self-awareness about depression,
sunlights; nature; noise; pollution; negative; positive; processing; therapies used by doctors are short-lived and not effective.
They heal only the human body but do not affect the
I. INTRODUCTION environment in which we live, which significantly
The environment is not limited to surroundings such contributes to disorders of human endocrine. The right level
as nature and urban structures, but also the people. Together of hormones mentioned above is dependent on the inputs that
with the environment, we are a part of the the organism is getting from environment.
development of civilization. Besides the advantages from II. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS INFLUENCING
evolution, we are at risk of side effects such as the diseases of THE DEPRESSION
civilization. One of the fastest growing diseases in recent years Today we are witnessing mass transportation
with a global reach is depression, a psychological disorder. (highways, public transport), consumption (fast food,
shopping centers) and high concentrations of people
in one area. The environment requires a fast pace of
life, causing stress and chemicals responsible for the
endocrine balance in the body are not fully metabolized.
Restoration of normal hormonal balance can be achieved
by the creation of a friendly environment and
developing structures that will have a positive impact on

Major factors that significantly affect the mood and human

endocrine can be divided in 4 categories:
A. Sunlight
Figure 1. Prevalance of diagnosed clinical depression [1].
One of the most important factors that affects hormonal
balance is sunlight. Sunlight contributes to the production of

4th Annual International Conference on

Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)
Copyright GSTF 2016
ISSN 2301-394X
doi: 10.5176/2301-394X_ACE16.98 2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

melatonin, which is responsible for proper sleep. No access to III. PRINCIPLE OF BUILING WORKING
sunlight results in insomnia and irritability. The organism Modern advanced technology poses fewer limitations to
is trying to produce melatonin itself, which decreases the level architectural design and civil engineering. Today,
of hormone of happiness present, often causing almost everything can be built and buildings, being self-
seasonal depression and deepening the clinical one. sufficient, can easily store and process solar energy or
B. Natural envirnoment water. Cities produce much more energy e.g. sounds,
Information from cities are bombarding our work memory smell, friction and others, that is not used again, so it is worth
and the brain has no chance for rest. Chemicals in our body widening the range of storage inputs. The proposed building
are not fully metabolized resulting in low serotonin levels. would be responsible for the exchange and process of
Remaining regularly in the natural habitat contributes to the information of the exterior with the interior and change
improvement of people suffering from clinical depression. It external negatives into internal positives. The working
has been scientifically proven that taking regular walks in a principle is inspired by the basic principle of how a
natural habitat contributes to a 16-percent improvement in neuron works.
concentration and working memory among patients suffering
from depression compared with those who walked in an urban
setting [4].
C. Sound
Today, people are exposed to continuous noise, which
attacks the nervous system. Even sounds from 35 to 70 dB
prove quite toxic to human health and may cause adverse
effects such as nervous system exhaustion. Higher dB sounds
like traffic (90 dB), lead to a visible decline in the quality of
work, hindered ability to concentrate and psychological
disorders. Prolonged exposure to noise causes a loss of sense
of security. Music therapy is used especially during
psychiatric disorders; corresponding frequencies are chosen to
Figure 4. Basic principle of neuron working.
have a relaxing or motivating effect.
D. Smell Neurons contain three important parts: the cell body
that directs all activities of the neuron; dendrites which are
Smell is a powerful sense responsible for emotions.
short fibers that receive the message from other neurons and
Scientific experiments have shown that sense of smell is
relay those messages to the cell body; and the axon, a long
necessary for happiness and lack of fragrance can lead to
single fiber that transmits the message from the cell
severe stress. During one of the American space experiments,
body to dendrites of other neurons. Every moment,
it was found that people living in an isolated environment
messages are moving with amazing speed back and forth
devoid of fragrance stimuli responded with strong
from neuron to neuron [6].
nervousness. Research on odors also shows that dissatisfaction
with life and depression may be due to living in an
environment filled with "hostile" smells, like car exhaust and
air contamination. Fragrances have an impact not only on
mood, but also generally on health. Neutralization of hostile
smells and selecting the appropriate aroma increase the
effectiveness of the depression treatment and create
appropriate mental sensations, such as happiness and a higher
level of energy [5].

Figure 5. Flowchart of artificial neuron.

Figure 2. Envirnomental factors influencing the depression. The entry gets input signals. This is information
that describes a task that the neuron has to solve. Each
of the instruments has a certain value. The signals are
multiplied by the weight values, the results of this
multiplication are added together in a summing block. In this
Figure 3. Antidepressant factors. way, a specific number is defined as membrane potential. It
is sent to the activation

2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

block where it can be processed in the future. The IV. PRINCIPLE OF EACH SYSTEM WORKING
activation blocks receive an answer with a new value of the Each of the factors could be collected or processed by
input signal. a personalized system. Inputs gathered from surroundings
would be processed and released to the building interior
with a new value. The intensity of released outputs could be
controlled or manipulated by internal needs. It also could
be combined in various ways to create the best expected

Figure 6. Basic principle of building working.

Similarly, the stages of information processing through

the building takes place by using three elements: the
external faade, which wraps the building and spreads to the
streets of the city, collecting inputs from the environment.
Gathering of the information - mostly negatives are
processed in summing blocks located at the building base Figure 8. Stimuli division.
and released as positives into the interior by internal faade.

This proposal is an attempt to introduce new values for the

buildings. The structure of the building would not be cut
off from the surroundings, as it is today, where most of A. Sunlight
the buildings are shells protecting people form external In the external faade a system could be mounted that
factors. It would live together with the city, processing basically uses a glass ball that is filled with water to
the external factors such as light, noise, smell and give it concentratethe suns energy onto a PV panel. In this way the
back into the building, creating different atmospheres of suns energy is concentrated by up to 10,000 times. The
sounds, smells and other inputs, that the city creates everyday. ball can also be rotated and would include a tracking
system, meaning that energy collection is maximized
throughout the day [7]. The PV panels transport collected
energy to the battery, which converts DC power into AC
power with the frequency and voltage corresponding to the
requirements of electricity grid.

The collected power could be used to charge the whole

building and to operate lamps, which are physically similar to
sunlight. It has a resemblance to the wavelength of light, the
light intensity (about 10 000 lux) and color. Lamps are turned
on when there is no sunlight outside which would provide the
right balance of melatonin to the organism.

Figure 7. Fasades today and porposed facade.

2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

C. Sound
A system of microphonescouldbe mounted to the faade.
Microphones are divided into 3 groups. Each group has
a special membrane catching specific tones: low, medium
and high. Particular vibrations go to the synthesizer that works
like the sampler, recording sounds (the noise of the city) and
then manipulating them in various ways by changing the
sound settings into more friendly tones.

Processed vibrations are released into the building through

the different speakers as harmonic sounds of
specific frequencies, which are friendly for the organism. For
example, sounds with level of 136,6 Hz are relaxing
for body, frequencies of 400 - 480 Hz decrease stress and are
free from physical pain and raising vitality.

Figure 9. Basic principle of sunlight system working

B. Natural environment
Rainwater could collect on the facade by a system
of gutters with bowl-shaped heads. Single gutters would
be connected to a main one hidden in facade that would
direct water to the summing block for future cleaning and
recycling processes.

Recycled water is pumped back to the interior of the

building and used for hydrating the plants that create a
beneficial, natural environment.

Figure 11. Basic principle of sound system working.

D. Smell
Dirty air would be collected by the pores in facade. Odor
from the surroundings is cleaned in a summing block using an
air ionizer. Plasma discharge generates and emits the
same positive and negative ions that occur in nature.
Ion air purification technology in which positive ions [H
+(H2O) n] and negative ions [O2-( H2O) m] are released
into the air simultaneously would be used. These positive
and negative ions instantly recombine on the surface of
bacteria, mold fungus, viruses and allergens floating in
the air to form hydroxyl (OH) radicals, which have
extremely high oxidation ability, and this chemical reaction
decomposes proteins on the surface of bacteria and other
pathogens, thereby inhibiting their activity. This combination
creates water which returns to the air [8].

Cleaned air is transformed back to the interior of the

building. Some of the pores in the facade contain selected
Figure 10. Basic principle of rainwater system working natural, essential oils that are sprayed in the air in selected

2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

parts of the buildings in order to create a particular mood. For These types of buildings could be located in
example: graveolens a strong antidepressant, helps busy metropolises that create unfriendly and stressful
with emotional problems; grapefruit - improves mood and habitats for society. Depending on the location and needs of
relieves nervous tension; peppermint - inhibits society, the building could be public or residential space; even
hyperactivity and lessens fatigue. the vertical city could combine private and public
functions. Buildings could also could create networks with
each other, such as a neuron network. In a big metropolis
environment, stimuli can be very different in each part of the
city. Some of the buildings could collect more water or
sunlight for others that need it. In that case, buildings could
contact each other by sending Wi-Fi information about the
state of collected energy. Buildings, which would save
more energy, could transmit it to those that need it, assuring a
sustainable balance in the network.

Figure 12. Basic principle of smell system working. Figure 13. Network sketch.

Figure 14. Sketch of the building network

2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

Figure 15. Several building variation.

2016 GSTF

4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE 2016)

Modern advanced technology undoubtedly has
brought many benefits to society. Rapid urban
development significantly facilitates the physical
functioning of humans. We can move quickly, have better
quality of life, lower costs and have constant access to
information. Construction poses fewer limitations. The city
can be built up, saving space and the latest technologies
applied to the construction industry can provide independent
functioning of the buildings. Despite all these advantages,
society still suffers from side effects, which are mostly mental

This proposal shows the possibilities of how to

use elements of existing environments and process them
into a friendly habitat using the latest technology. This
research highlights the impact of architecture on the
psychological state of man and incentivizes designers to re-
define sustainable and human friendly design.
We would like to show our gratitude to
Krystyna Januszkiewicz and her doctoral students for sharing
their pearls of wisdom with us during the course of this
research and finalizing this project within the limited time
Secondly we would also like to thank our friends suffering
from depression who provided insight and expertise
that greatly assisted the research and helped us a
lot in understanding mechanism of this disease.

[1] C. Dewey, A stunning map of depression rates around the world, M.
Fisher, The Washington Post, November 2013. Online at
stunning-map-of-depression-rates-around-the-world/ Accessed
[2] World Federation for Mental Health, Depression: a global crisis, pp. 2,
617, October 2012, in press.
[3] C. B. Nemeroff, W.W. Vale, The neurobiology of depression: inroads
to treatment and new drug discovery, J. Clin Psychiatry 66, (suppl 7)
pp. 5-13, 2005.
[4] M. S. Sweeney, C. R. Green, Your Best Brain Ever: A Complite Guide
and Workout, National Geographic Society, 2013, pp. 32. C. G. Morris,
Psychology: An Introduction. Prentice Hall, 1990, pp. 33.
Figure 16. Antidepressant vertical city. [5] D. Serani, Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and
Caregivers, Rowman & Littlefield, 2013, pp.63-67.
[6] C. G. Morris, Psychology: An Introduction. Prentice Hall, 1990, pp. 33.
[7] Solar Energy Generators from Rawlemon, December 2013. Online at Accesed 10.02.2016
[8] Sharp, Higher Concentrations of Plasmacluster Ions *1 Boost
Virus Inactivation and Elimination, Inhibit 99.9% of Airborne H5N1
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Virus,, Verified in Collaboration
with Retroscreen Virology Ltd. of the UK, August 2008, in press.

2016 GSTF