A charrette (pronounced [shuh-ret]), is often Anglicized to charette and sometimes called a design charrette. It consists of an intense period of design activity.


Charrettes in general

The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people. Compare this term with workshop.

Specific cases of charrette

Charrettes take place in many disciplines, including land use planning, or urban planning. In planning, the charrette has become a technique for consulting with all stakeholders. This type of charrette (sometimes called an enquiry by design) typically involves intense and possibly multi-day meetings, involving municipal officials, developers, and residents. A successful charrette promotes joint ownership of solutions and attempts to defuse typical confrontational attitudes between residents and developers. Charrettes tend to involve small groups, however the residents participating may not represent all the residents nor have the moral authority to represent them. Residents who do participate get early input into the planning process. For developers and municipal officials charrettes achieve community involvement, may satisfy consultation criteria, with the objective of avoiding costly legal battles. Other uses of the term "charrette" occur within an academic or professional setting, whereas urban planners invite the general public to their planning charrettes. Thus most people (unless they happen to be design students) encounter the term "charrette" in an urban-planning context.

In fields of design such as architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, interior design, or graphic design, the term charrette may refer to an intense period of work by one person or a group of people prior to a deadline. The period of a charrette typically involves both focused and sustained effort. The word "charrette" may also be used as a verb, as in, for example, "I am charretting" or "I am on charrette [or: en charrette]," simply meaning I am working long nights, intensively toward a deadline.

An example of the charrette, the University of Virginia's School of Architecture unofficially calls the last week before the end of classes Charrette. At the final deadline time (assigned by the school), all students must put their "pencils down" and stop working. Students then present their work to fellow-students and faculty in a critiqued presentation.

Another example, from New College of Florida, is their Master Plan Design Charrettes that took place over a week in 2005 involving students, alumni, administrators, professors, area residents, and local government staff members as well as architects, designers, and planners from Moule & Polyzoides, The Folsom Group, the Florida House Institute for Sustainable Development, Hall Planning & Engineering, and Biohabitats in a process to make long range suggestions for the campus layout, landscaping, architecture, and transportation corridors of the master plan for its campus.

In some cases, a charrette may be held on a recurring basis, such as the annual charrette held by the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department at Utah State University. Each February, the faculty choose a site in partnership with communities and groups throughout Utah, and hold an intense 5-day design charrette focusing on particular issues in that community or region. The charrette begins with a field visit, followed by all-day work sessions accompanied by project stakeholders and volunteer landscape architects and other professionals, and overseen by senior and graduate level students. The final work is then presented to the community. Charrettes such as these offer students and professionals the opportunity to work together in a close setting on real-world design scenarios, and often provide communities with tens of thousands of dollars of design work for free.

Many municipalities around the world develop long term city plans or visions through multiple charrettes - both communal and professional. Notable successes include the city of Vancouver, British Columbia[citation needed].

Origins of the term "charrette"

Thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 19th century, the word charrette is from the French for "cart" or "chariot."

It was not unusual for student architects to continue working furiously, at the last minute, on the illustrations for their design presentations, even while riding in the school cart (en charrette) through the streets of Paris en route to submit the projects to their professors.[1] Hence, the term metamorphosed into the current design-related usage in conjunction with working right up until a deadline.

An alternative explanation is that at the end of a class in the studio a charrette would be wheeled among the student artists to pick up their work for review while they, each working furiously to apply the finishing touch, were said to be working en charrette.

In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century when travel took long periods, a Charrette referred to long carriage rides in which politicians and policy makers would be sequestered together in order to collaborate in solving a set problem over the duration of their journey. This origin is most similar to the current usage of the word in the (USA) design world.[citation needed]

See also

External links

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  • charrette — Charrette. s. f. Sorte de voiture à deux roües, & deux limons. Charger une charrette. mener une charrette: on mene les criminels au supplice dans une charrette. elle a eu le foüet au cul d une charrette …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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  • charrette — 1. charrette [ ʃarɛt ] n. f. • 1080; de char 1 ♦ Voiture à deux roues, à limons, à ridelles, servant à transporter des fardeaux. ⇒ carriole, 1. char, fardier, haquet, tombereau. Atteler, conduire, mener une charrette. ⇒ charrier; charretier.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Charrette — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Charrette (homonymie).  Pour l’article homophone, voir Charette …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CHARRETTE — n. f. Sorte de voiture à deux roues, qui a deux limons et ordinairement deux ridelles, et dont on se sert pour transporter des fardeaux. Charger une charrette. Mener, conduire une charrette. Charrette à bras, Petite charrette traînée par un ou… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • charrette — (cha rè t ) s. f. 1°   Voiture à deux roues, avec deux ridelles et deux limons. •   J entends déjà partout les charrettes courir, BOILEAU Sat. VI.    Fig. et familièrement. Un avaleur de charrettes ferrées, un fanfaron. 2°   Charrette à bras,… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • CHARRETTE — s. f. Sorte de voiture à deux roues, qui a deux limons et ordinairement deux ridelles, et dont on se sert pour transporter des fardeaux. Charger une charrette. Mener, conduire une charrette. Prov. et fig., C est un avaleur de charrettes ferrées,… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • charrette — n.f. Licenciement collectif : Il a été vidé dans une charrette. / Automobile : Je t emprunte ta charrette. / Être, faire charrette, se hâter de terminer un projet (étud. Beaux Arts) ; donner un coup de collier, sans cesse ni repos. / Sauter en… …   Dictionnaire du Français argotique et populaire

  • charrette — I. Charrette, f. Curriculum, Carruca. Une sorte de charrette, Traha. Chasser à la charrette, c est quand le chariot et le chartier estans tous couverts de fueilles, menans un tireur d arbaleste ou d arquebouse aussi survestu de fueilles,… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Charrette — Charette (de), Charrette Les termes Charette et Charrette peuvent certes évoquer une charrette, mais il s agit le plus souvent de toponymes désignant la chute d eau d un moulin. Le mot vient du grec kataracta , qui a aussi donné cataracte …   Noms de famille

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