If you are interested in having AIASMC organize and conduct a Charrette for your community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650.348.5133
Design Charrette: An Introduction
In 1982 a group of architects were asked to organize a Charette to launch a local community's downtown storefront improvement program. This group of architects went on to found the AIASMC. Since that time we have organized conducted over 18 Charrettes for various Peninsula communities
The term “Charrette” is derived from the French word for “cart”. At the Ecole Des Beaux Arts, the premiere school of Architecture in 19th century France, Architecture students were challenged with design assignments requiring intense work with very tight and inflexible deadlines. These exercises would culminate in feverish bursts of effort as the designs were drawn on large format boards for the final presentation. The arrival of the deadline was marked by the appearance of the Proctor’s cart, or “charrette” making the rounds of the students' quarters to pick-up their work.
Over the years the term "Charrette" has become synonymous with an intense and time-constrained design project, workshop, or exercise. Design Charrettes can be associated with a variety of community based problem-solving and participatory design and planning activities. They can range from a few hours of intensive brainstorming to a sequence of sessions spanning several days or
The efforts of the San Mateo County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (SMAIA) are rooted in its members’ belief in the importance of community, service, and leadership by the architectural profession. Events such as the Mission Street Urban Design Charrette present valuable opportunities for architects and other design professionals to serve the community.
AIA members understand that the combination of unencumbered creative problem solving and direct community participation is often the best way to begin addressing complex design and development issues. The AIASMC’s charrette approach generates multiple visions rather than a single solution. The ability to quickly produce and share a number of possible visions of the future can be a crucial element in helping communities define and achieve their goals. The ideas can break through the deadlock of a debate that is limited to words and emotions prior to the charrette, overcome the inertia of preconceived notions and help illuminate a path to the future. A variety of graphically expressed concepts becomes the basis for further study, discussion, debate and eventually for civic action. The fact that the AIASMC has conducted many successful events such as this one over the past 25 years, up and down the Peninsula, reflects the Chapter’s longstanding dedication to the needs of the communities in the area.
Past AIASMC Charrettes:
- San Mateo 'B' Street - 1982
- San Bruno, San Mateo Avenue - 1986
- Half Moon Bay, Main Street - 1990
- Burlingame, Broadway/Bayshore - 1994
- San Mateo, Transit Center / Train Station - 1994
- Burlingame, Bus Depot - 1994
- San Carlos, Laurel Street - 1995
- San Mateo, Main Library - 1996
- South San Francisco, Downtown - 1998
- East Palo Alto, Community Design Charrette - 2000
- San Mateo, Historic Main Street - 2001
- San Mateo, 'Gateway to Central Park' - 2004
- Menlo Park 'Imagine a Downtown' - 2005
- Burlingame 'SoBA' (Howard Avenue) - 2006
- Daly City, Mission Street 'Urban Design Charrette' - 2008
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