I don’t think architects get out enough. They don’t visit the buildings they’ve designed, to see if they are meeting the needs of the people who inhabit them. Take the restrooms, as a for instance. If they visited any public facility, they might pick up a few tips on design fundamentals that apparently aren’t taught in architect school. They would see a long line of women waiting to get into the bathroom and a tiny, or no line at all, in front of the men’s room door. It wouldn’t be hard to adjust the design to eliminate this flaw. Make the ladies room twice as large as the men’s room. Equality is great, but not as a design fundamental. Not, when it comes to rest rooms. Unequal square footage should be the norm.
Architects also need to go inside the rest rooms. Years ago, some engineering marvel decided to replace paper towel dispensers with electric hand dryers. “How can it go wrong? It solves the trash removal issue!” It did that, I’ll grant you, but over the years the machines have been ramped up and now sound like a jet engine revving up on the runway. They’re louder and harder on the ears than a rock concert. I’m lucky, I’m usually wearing jeans and denim is the perfect material for drying your hands. I hustle out the door while wiping them on my pants. It’s a skill I picked up when I was six years old and got my first pair of Levi’s. I just wish I had a second pair of hands so I could cover my ears at the same time.
Architects might also notice, if they stopped by one of their creations, that the paved walkways into buildings are seldom used, as evidenced by well-worn dirt paths through the grass to building entrances. It might be smarter to plant grass and see where people walk. Then, pave the worn-down paths. (Not my original idea; I stole this from someone; I forget who.)
Maybe, when they are at one of their creations, they can try to open their car door without dinging the car next to them in the parking lot. The spaces get smaller and smaller, yet the cars get longer and wider. It’s especially hard on old coots like me. We have to fling the door wide open and then work to unfold and extricate an uncooperative body that wants to stay in the car. They must have picked up their design principles in the same college course that airline designers learned to squeeze more people (sheep is more like what they think of us) into airplanes. And, just like the car and parking space phenomena, the passengers boarding planes are getting bigger, but the seats, aisles and headroom are getting smaller. Somebody in the design business needs to do the math! PLEASE!
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