Analysis of a Design Charrette

char·rette /SHəˈret/

Late Middle English (denoting a cart or wagon): from French charrette, literally ‘cart’; current sense dates from the mid 20th century, possibly with reference to the use of a cart in 19th-century Paris to collect architecture students’ work on the day of an exhibition.

A charrette is defined as an intense period of design or planning activity. The term originated in France at the École des Beaux-Arts school in Paris where students would typically work up until the last minute, placing their designs and models on a charrette (or, more commonly known by Americans, a cart) upon completion for review.

Never being ones to sit out on a design competition, our firm has participated in countless local design charrettes since our doors opened in 2002. Typically used as a way to reimagine particular neighborhoods or districts throughout the city of Houston, charrettes are a great way to pool together ideas from students, young designers, or architects.

This past January, B/A participated in one of Rice Design Alliance’s charrettes, the goal of which was to reimagine the Allen’s Landing district to promote resiliency, connectivity, and activity in the surrounding neighborhood.

With five hours on the clock, we had to put together a design and presentation that appropriately conveyed our vision — a community amphitheater.

The images below document both the process that our team went through as we planned our design and a few slides from our final project presentation the to judges.

After several hours of intense design (and a few slices of pizza), we were ready to present our final product to the judges. Ta da!

Although we didn’t win this particular charrette, we are always proud to be a part of initiatives to reinvigorate the Houston community we love so dearly. We look forward to the next one!