Plant Science Building Boiler Room

I spent ten minutes sitting, listening on the stairwell within the multi-level boiler room within the Plant Science building.  I was intrigued by the sheer presence of mechanical noise there — it’s loud but not harsh, and the many running boilers, pipes, and other machines whir collectively, each contributing another layer of sound to the room’s ambience.  While focusing on ‘deep listening,’ I found it difficult to truly discern where one layer of sound began and another ended — I believe this was because many running machines were two stories or more below where I sat; also, the metal pipes running over my head resonated and echoed the rumbling room, which served to further obscure the sounds’ origins.  Occasionally, some distant boiler would hiss out some steam, or another machine would whir to life — these sounds eventually blended in with everything else as my ears acclimated to them.  A very deep frequency provided a grounding and encompassing sense of weight and presence that made me feel small and somewhat out-of-place in a room whose purpose is so functional and without superfluity, as I sat, hidden, on the rusty stairwell.

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