In regard to the German word for “fear” in terms of etymology, a surprising conjunction is to be found: “Angst”, deriving from the Latin word “angustiae” also translates as “narrowness”, which not only refers to a spatial relation in general but also implicates confinement and hence, containment quite literally.
Even the Old Testament already states that there had not yet been architecture in paradise and Cain had not built the first city for the fear of vengeance until the murder of his brother Abel.
Franz Kafka on the other hand describes a dialectical nature of the architectural terminology of fear in his late (and unfinished) tale “The Burrow”: Therein, the desire to build a fortress is directly situated in a fear of loss, which in turn appears to be the cause for perpetual concern through the diversity and omnipresence of fear. Architecture – a space for living in permanent fear for Kafka – simultaneously seems to be the cause and effect, catalyst and decelerator of human perception. Hence, it paradoxically fosters the (un-)conscious production of fear as a place of refuge, protection and security; whether by means of intimidation through surrounding buildings or explicit demonstrations of power. The psychological component of anxiety in the history of security architecture has always dealt with building types such as castles, palaces, banks, shelters or prisons and should finally be expanded towards the typologies of the 21st century. What are the consequences in relation to shopping centres, railway stations, airports, schools, museums, zoos or hospitals in regard to the conditions given above?
Similarly, a pleasure for the uncanny, sinister or frightening situations pervades a vast number of epochs, disciplines and genres. Just as Poe, Doyle or Chesterton attempted to run the reader’s blood cold in his cosy chamber is today continued by TV- forensicists through absurdist ingenuity; transforming evenings spent on the couch into a thrilling adventure. Hence, fear becomes an amusement and the question arises, what spatial arrangements for example actively serve this instance?
The sixth issue of HORIZONTE therefore seeks for spaces of fear, architectures of anxiety, escapes and safety cages, chambers of horror as well as shady hide-outs.
All submissions via e-mail to
Deadline: August 31st 2012