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Dorm Rooms As Niches?

Anne Dalke's picture

One of the students in my other class did some research on Erdman, and discovered that Louis Kahn, the architect who designed it, said, “A dormitory should not express a nostalgia for home, it is not a permanent place, but an interim place.” Can an interim place be a niche?



Hummingbird's picture

I absolutely think an interim

I absolutely think an interim place can be a niche – in particular because my niches (my bedroom here at Bryn Mawr and walking around neighborhoods) are interim spaces. I talked to Uninhibited yesterday about our dorm rooms being niches for us because of the control we have over them. Though they're temporary, we get to decorate them the way we wish (provided we don't cause any damage to the space) and in that way make them ours. Part of what makes my dorm room more of a niche for me than my room at home is the fact that at my home in NY, I don't have as much control or independence in my room. The home is shared by my family and that includes my room – which is used as an access point to other parts of the house and is too small for much time to be spent in it. 

My other niche is characterized more by my action (walking) than by the space itself. When I need time to reflect and be in a safe space, I go out for a walk. In Bryn Mawr, that involves walking around the neighborhood and going to the park. When I'm in New York, that also involves walking around the neighborhood or going to the park, but they're completely different environments. The spaces are constantly changing as the weather changes, buildings are built or demolished, and people move through them. In this sense, there is no amount of permanence in this niche, but I still consider it a niche because of the comfort and reflection the space allows me. 

I think making a space feel like a "home" is ultimately separate from making it a "niche." I think something can feel "homey" while still being a space where one lacks control – and I think control is a key aspect to niches.