I'm putting this question out broadly, but mostly in an architectural and programmatic sense. I'm an architecture student in his last year. This means I'm doing my thesis, a project of my choosing which I work on for a year. I've gotten input from another forum and local friends put the more points of view the better the final product will be. Have no fear in being creative or not. real input from the kinds of people a build must serve has been something missing this past century.Simply, what would you like to see in a building for the godless?
Enclosed is the proposal from the spring.IS%20Proposal.pdf
* A separate room/area for children and their moms so peeps would not have to listen to the toddlers/babies.
* Activities: Movie night,cards night,board games night, etc.
* Sunday is a pot luck brunch once a month.
* Jam sessions. One night a month,contra dancing.
* Book club,small library..Read and discuss books.
* Front room is a small coffee shop anyone can enjoy.
Don't call it a church,and don't mention religion.
First of all I wouldn't call it a church. I'd call it a center for atheism or something like that.
I'd like to see:
- A Preschool, After Care Program for School Age, Summer Camps and a Playground
- A lecture hall to invite guest speakers or to have members speak on topics they are interested in.
- A stage for performances either by members or to invite guests.
- Several classrooms to hold study groups/reading groups for whatever interests the members.
- A large yard for holding outdoor gatherings/secular weddings with maybe a covered patio.
- A library
- Of course all the rooms need to be properly equipped with all the technological stuff to make meetings of all sorts go smoothly.
Don't call it atheist:
Whatever organization will be in the building. If they have any ideology/philosophy beyond
the rejection of a God, they shouldn't call it Atheist. Otherwise, people will hold all atheist
responsible for the view of a few.
Don't call it church (or chuch):
Atheism is not a religion or a single belief. Besides, one doesn't really want to copy the
Lots of good ideas, and I agree with those who object to calling it a church. The word "church" definitely has Christian connotations, although some Buddhists in the US have taken to calling their buildings churches for lack of a better word. Church also has the connotation of a place for religious services, and that's the LAST thing I would want!
I think it's better to start off with the idea of a Community Center or Meeting House (although that sounds kind of Quaker). What kind of CC, I don't know, but Non-theist, or Humanistic sound sufficiently non-inflammatory that maybe the building wouldn't get torched by loonies.
If I were to design something like that I'd have a warm and inviting lobby with free handouts explaining in the most general way what atheists are about and how we differ from agnostics or deists. The lobby might also double as a reading room stocked with books and magazines relating to atheism as well as other relevant issues.
Past the lobby I think a decent lecture hall/multi use room would be nice and a separate room loaded with tv's for sunday football. I think the comfy chair and bartender idea would dovetail nicely here. Throw in some clean restrooms and a nice, private outdoor area in back with tables, chairs and barbecues and I'd be in hog heaven.
I'd like to see murals relating to science and nature. In particular, large blow-ups of Hubble Telescope images of galaxies and nebulae, along with images of nature, maybe microscopic phenomena, etc.
As a concept, as opposed to reality, I would love to see a cathedral of life, a temple of knowledge, starting with your photo showing dinosaur skeletons in a glass-roofed hall. It would have stone benches with imbedded fossils. Walking around the hall, there would be stained glass images, beginning with the barren, volcano-studded earth, then images of early life, so that as one walked around the perimeter one would see the start/branch/stop/evolve/develop of evolution's eons of change. Not with homo-sapiens as a pinnacle, but as an especially successful branch, for the moment. Not a place with music, but with birdsong. In alcoves, there would be fountains structured as waterfalls, with moss and ferns growing from the stones. The cathedral would inspire the kind of awe that theist cathedrals invoke, but awe of the immense stretches of time, and endless diversity that have resulted as life evolve(d)(s) on earth. It would have the accuracy of museums, but with staging designed to uplift the mind in wonder.