Remember that one time when I told you about my chapel, and how some lunkhead built a twelve-inch escape route for toddlers between the benches and the walls? I think they may have hired the same people to work on the building we attend church in now. There are no cattle chutes running along the outer walls, but whoever designed (and then selected) the pews has possibly never, ever attended church with a child. Ever.
Get this--the pews all have this gap of about an inch or so where the bench seat (doesn't) meet the back. I do not know what the point of this gap is, but I know what happens as a result of it being there: anything that is placed or dropped on the bench (crayons, pens, crackers, toy cars) rolls toward the back of the seat and then falls through the gap onto the feet of the elderly person sitting behind you. Where you can't reach it. All. meeting. long. Seriously. Who ever thought this was a good idea? What's next? Cutting holes into the benches so you can stick a little bucket in there and use it to collect trash and napkins like they do at Joe's Crab Shack?
It's stuff like this that makes me think we need to do better at getting the input of the people who will actually be using the building & its furniture. Problems like the cattle chute and the bench gaps would be identified immediately if you had some real people sit on the things for 15 seconds. It seems like so many of these decisions are made by people who are so far removed from the trenches that they either don't know or can't remember the potential challenges they are either not addressing or sometimes creating.
Another example? Church buildings that have changing stations in the women's bathrooms but not in the men's. Why don't they both have them? Not only is that sexist (what, changing diapers is just for women?) but quite impractical. A lot of fathers take care of babies during church. GH had the Tiny Dark Lord while I was in Primary from the time he was three months old, but the only changing table was in the women's bathroom. He changed diapers on the floor in busy hallways, outside on the lawn (in good weather), or, if the messy diaper happened close enough to the end of church, just took the kid home.
Can anybody else give me some examples of design fails in their church buildings? (Or work buildings, or whatever?) Would love to hear them.
Note: I realize that the pioneers did not have changing tables in their church buildings. Sometimes they probably didn't even have buildings, just poles that they set up and draped with fabric or rattlesnake skins or something. So they are probably looking down on me now like, "What is her deal?" Well, pioneers, it is called an advance in the standard of living, and I thank you for making it possible. It's like John Adams said. You crossed the plains and gave birth to babies in handcarts so that I could sit in my air-conditioned chapel and gripe about poorly designed pews.