Give us your ‘pew-point’
Restoration, we need your feedback! We have chosen a GREAT vendor for our pews, New Holland Church Furniture. Our next step is to decide if we want straight or radial pews. There are good things about both. What do you think? We would love to hear your comments in the space below. This is an exciting time to be dreaming about our new space.
Here are the features of each:
The cost for radial is $72,783 ($10,000 more than straight). They provide better viewing, feel more inclusive, and contribute to a sense of community. Aesthetically they follow the lines of the chancel, but they do not fit as well with the decorative trusses that will be in the ceiling.
The cost for straight pews is $62,575 (about $10,000 cheaper than radial pews). The aesthetic is more traditional, classic, and ‘lasting’. Our architects have highly recommended straight pews because of their design consistency with the rest of the sanctuary. Straight pews follow the lines of the floor and the trusses in the ceiling.
Both pew designs will have the same seating capacity which is 384 people.
We would love to hear what you think about the options. Thanks for being a part of the process!
Here are 2 simple drawings of the interior of the nave. They give you an idea of the trusses in the ceiling.
December 13, 2013 @ 1:39 pm
At first I read this as “radical pews”! Are the radial pews one connected pew (like the straight pews that we used to have), or are they more like connected chairs?
December 13, 2013 @ 1:52 pm
Great question, Hanna. The radial pews are all connected, but the wood is laminate so that it can be bent. The straight pews have hard wood backs.
December 13, 2013 @ 2:51 pm
December 13, 2013 @ 3:04 pm
I prefer the straight pews. Mt. Olivet has the radial pews and it always feels a bit awkward if you get stuck on one end or the other – like your sitting in the aisle or on the outskirts.
December 13, 2013 @ 3:11 pm
That’s a really helpful perspective, Tyler. Thanks.
December 13, 2013 @ 3:17 pm
In order to evaluate the two types of pew for their “design consistency with the rest of the sanctuary,” are there renderings of the interior of the sanctuary that could be posted? (Sorry if these have been posted before, I’m not finding them)
December 13, 2013 @ 3:39 pm
Great idea, John. We will try to post an interior drawing later tonight. Thanks.
December 13, 2013 @ 4:01 pm
OK. the interior elevations are up.
December 13, 2013 @ 4:44 pm
I really like the radial pews for all the reasons mentioned in the post.
Along with the chancel, the front steps also have a curved wrap-around. I think aesthetically the curves help to break some of the straight lines creating more of a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The radial pews also lend a little bit more of this idea of “gathering around” as we read, pray, sing, learn, and eat at the Lord’s table.
I think the radials do a better job of communicating and fostering intimacy and community – two descriptions that have characterized Restoration’s desired “feel.”
In the end though, I’m just really excited to be in our new space together.
December 13, 2013 @ 6:38 pm
I prefer radial.
December 13, 2013 @ 10:00 pm
For a sanctuary that is really wide (like Falls Church new church), radial is fine. But I get the impression that the new RAC will be oblong — like LFPC — and for that, straight would be better. Curved feels like the pews are being squeezed to bend.
December 13, 2013 @ 10:29 pm
I’m a traditionalist and like symmetry. And after looking at the elevations, my vote is with the architects, straight pews. Also, since the curvy ones do not give any more seating, I don’t think they add much.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will reveal what the best use for the $10,000 difference is. My thought is that with straight pews, we could spend $10,000 buying new pews or other physical things for our brothers and sisters in Egypt or other parts of Africa whose churches were burned this year.
December 14, 2013 @ 10:08 am
I would vote for the radial pews, hands down! Especially after having some time at Little Falls Church, where the design is long and narrow in the sanctuary with straight pews, I have found it very hard to see the pastor and therefore hard to fully engage each Sunday. As a church wanting to foster intimacy and community, and with a new building design that is much bigger and more retangular than our past, I think the radial pews would be best for our congregation.
December 14, 2013 @ 1:01 pm
As a short woman, I’ve found that radial pews give me a much better chance of being able to see what’s going on up front.
December 14, 2013 @ 2:02 pm
Curved pews — friendlier, they are. . . .
December 14, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your thoughts and opinions. Thank you!
December 14, 2013 @ 3:59 pm
I lean toward the straight pews myself. A few of my thoughts:
(1) If the rest of the sanctuary were shaped more like an amphitheater the radial pews would make more sense, but as it is the room just seems to “ask for” straight pews.
(2) The curve is so modest on the radial pews that I don’t see much added value from them. A more substantial curve might give us that added value (e.g., a warm, intimate feel), but our design constraints are what they are.
(3) If we plan on having kneelers, either in the near or more distant future, they would feel more natural in straight pews.
(4) Our old building had straight pews, as does LFPC, and I don’t think we’ve felt a lack of intimacy or community on that account.
(5) Although $10,000 might not sound like a lot in a $4.5 million building project, that’s still money that could go toward other things. Either some other way to make our sanctuary beautiful (e.g., icons?), ministry programs, charity, etc.
December 14, 2013 @ 10:47 pm
For what it’s worth, one more vote for straight: trust the architect’s opinion and like the savings to put toward other priorities
December 16, 2013 @ 12:34 pm
I vote for Radial. It’s much easier to catch someone’s eye during worship and feel connected. I also resonate with Hebrews 11 and I feel like I’m part of the great cloud of witnesses–surrounded by people who are all on a journey together to be with God. Straight is fine and utilitarian, but can feel a bit like a lecture, all of us facing forward. I like something a little more communal. I’ll help chip in for the 10k to offset the curvy pew costs 🙂
December 16, 2013 @ 6:13 pm
We would appreciate your prayers for a meeting with our design team tomorrow. They will be talking a lot about exterior and interior finishes– from brick color to paint colors.
From just this blog, we seem pretty evenly split with a small nod towards radial. In the end, we will probably be a bell curve of contentment– small percentages of people who are REALLY happy or really disappointed and the majority of us could go either way.
December 16, 2013 @ 10:52 pm
Enjoyed the discussion and am pretty sure I’ll be ready to sing and celebrate our first Sunday no matter the pew style. I do like the perks mentioned of the radial style, but the timelessness and durability of hard wood has a purist draw for me (seeing as one of our ol’ straight pews is sitting in my kitchen). Also, working with the overall architecture seems prudent.
Will be praying for those that are debating these wonderful aesthetic matters, things that aren’t the substance of, but will serve as a tone-setting palate for, our community in the years ahead. Blessings on the decision-makers.