Swat Style Snapshot: Chinese and Studio Art, Seattle, WA, Parrish
Being wait-listed for a dorm room can be unnerving for students as room assignments are oftentimes made very close to the start of the semester. Alexander Anderson, a junior, was wait-listed and learned of his housing for this semester merely one day prior to moving in. But the anxious wait paid off as Anderson now occupies a double room, used as a single, on the fourth floor of Parrish.
As a Chinese and studio art double major, he studied abroad last semester in China. He is pleased to have acquired an on-campus single, much prized by juniors, for his return to campus this semester. “I’ve always wanted to live in Parrish. It’s so close to everything,” he said.
Parrish is a unique building, as it mixes both dormitory and administrative spaces. Anderson often speculates how much the noise and activities from the residential halls may affect the administrative offices below his room. “I think about the music that I play sometimes and I wonder if they can hear it,” he said.
Parrish is also the only dormitory that offers single-sex housing for males, although Anderson claims an all-male hall life is not too different from a mixed-gendered one. “I thought it was going to be dirtier but it’s not,” he said.
For Anderson, living in a single hasn’t resulted in isolation or diminished his social interaction. “One of my best friends, Eddie [Zhang] lives here…my dorm life is Eddie,” he said. Anderson describes Zhang as the “unofficial roommate.” Zhang, who lives down the hall frequents Anderson’s room and doubles as human furniture. “When [Anderson] needs a footrest I just get on all fours and take it like a champion,” Zhang said.
The room has an extended windowsill, allowing natural light to flood in during the day. Anderson can enjoy views of Parrish Beach offered by the large windows, from his bed. He considers his residency in Parrish as a definite upgrade from living in the basement of Willets as a sophomore. “[I’ve moved] from the lowest part of campus, like underground, to the highest part of campus,” he said. Because the room is a “dingle,” an intended double used as a single, there is ample space and double the furniture, sans a bed frame that a friend appropriated and took to Alice Paul. “I’ve never had this much space on campus before,” Anderson said. The high ceilings characteristic of rooms in Parrish amplifies the expansiveness of Anderson’s room.
Anderson’s interest in art inspired him to decorate his walls with various artwork sand use the surfaces of the many pieces of furniture in his room as display spaces for his ceramic artwork. On the wall above his bed hangs a self-portrait he painted in his foundation art class. Also displayed are large, striking prints, such as a print of a near-nude male by Kehinde Wiley, a New York-based contemporary painter. An oversized teapot, which Anderson handcrafted in his “Container as Architecture” course during the Spring 2011 semester, sits atop of his dressers.
Parrish, in Anderson’s opinion, offers convenient amenities such as an elevator. “I always take the elevator, it’s so convenient. I mean its right outside my door,” he said. Anderson appreciates living in such an elevated floor without the need to climb numerous flights of stairs. “Stairs are slavery,” he said. The elevator also makes it feasible for him to access the laundry room, which is located in the Parrish basement, more than five floors below.
Whilst many communal spaces exist in Parrish, Anderson has attempted to create the ambiance of a personal lounge in his room. “I spend most of my time stretched out on my bed, not wearing very many clothes, reading,” he said. He refrains from using the fluorescent ceiling light and instead relies on two lamps or natural light to illuminate the room, for a softer, warmer effect. Because of the vast amounts of space and minimal decorations, the subtle lighting creates a sense of darkness. Anderson admits that the soft lightening sometimes induces sleep. But in the case that he needs to do work, he takes advantage of the study spaces in Parrish and simply takes the elevator down to the parlors.
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