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Creature Comforts

ekthorp's picture
  1. From most happy to Least Happy:

1. Glass Stairway, Dalton Hall

2. Morris Woods

3. Campus Center Parking Lot

4. English House I

5. Park Science, Room 20


  1. Things that inspired comfort:
  • Presence of Bugs
  • Temperature – Too Hot/Too cold
  • Color Pallet
  • Smells
  • Humidity level
  • Spaciousness

I think I was most comfortable in Dalton because it combined some of the best aspects of the indoor and outdoor world. I was able to view the outside world in a large class dome without being paranoid about bugs as I was in the woods. The temperature was perfect. In park, I was freezing, and in the C.C. parking lot I was burning up. But the large glass windows allowed plenty of sun in, keeping the indoor air-conditioning at bay.

However, what I think most appealed to me about my two favorite locations were their color pallets. In both Dalton Hall and the woods, the color pallet was simple- for Dalton, it was green and grey, while in the woods it was green, white and brown. In the other spaces, there were many different colors. I love colors, but the overabundance of colors in the classroom and in the parking lot was a little overwhelming after existing briefly in a space with only two or three colors represented. I was drawn to the reductive nature of color in my top two places.


  1. From Plants Most Happy to Plants Least Happy

1. Morris Woods

                        2. English House I

                        3. Glass Stairway, Dalton Hall

                        4. Campus Center

                        5. Park Science


      D.            Things that Inspired Plant Comfort:

  • Being Contained/Being able to grow free
  • Interaction with humans
  • Proximity to buildings
  • Relationship to human made structures

I tend to think that the plants I saw were happiest when they were allowed to grown uncultured by human hands. That’s why I think I saw the happiest plants in the woods or through the windows of the English house. The English house rests in a midst of trees, grass, and vines, right on the precipice of a mini-forest. This forest encroaches on this human structure, but is not as comparatively pushed back as it is in other places on campus, such as Park Science.

Although there were plenty of plants around the Campus Center parking lot, they all seemed artificial and very controlled. Their colors were almost too bright, as if they were glowing with radiation, and were planted in pots that humans had made. There was also a fence made of fresh cut pine nearby, which is the ultimate sign of human control over plants.


  1. Similarities:
  • Spaciousness
  • Temperature
  • Proximity to human-made structures/humans

Personally, I tend to be most comfortable in spacious places with moderately warm temperatures. I also like to be somewhere near people, but not surrounded by them. I think plants also having plenty of room to spread out in, preferably away from humans, although I don’t think they mind being near us horribly so.

  1. Differences:
  • Presence of Bugs
  • Smells
  • Humidity level
  • Color Pallet 

I think a lot of the things that attributed to my comfort are things that are results of the existence of plants. For example, I hate bugs, but they are necessary for plant’s existence. I also highly enjoy the simplistic color pallet plants provide, but are something they produce as a byproduct of existing.  So I felt more comfortable in places with out bugs, but around the presence of plants and the color pallet plants offer.

I think, as for the comfort of non-human animals, there is a lot of variation. Obviously tamed and feral animals come into play here, but I wonder where and how we draw that definition. For example, through extensive breeding, humans have managed to breed pet foxes. Are these animals pets, even though they look just like wild animals? And do we even have the right to do that at all? Are wild animals that have adapted to humans, to the extent of greeting them and expecting them as a food source, really wild? Or are they an entirely separate category? I feel like the comfort level of these weird animals would be significantly different than a completely wild animal that was brought into our environment.