The charette is traditionally a collaboration between new hires, summer interns, and senior firm leaders. In addition to bringing focus toward a community or population in need, the projects also serve as an opportunity for our newest employees to interact and collaborate with some of our most senior designers.
This summer, our design charette was broken into two different research phases:
Part 1 – BYOC [Bring Your Own Chair, Bring Your Own Conversation]
The overall goal was to study the success of public space in our local communities. Is there enough public space available? Is it activated by the public, or is closed off and unfamiliar? We took to several stages of design research, and initiated a design-build approach to explore our results.
Our focus on flexibility of form, space, and use, as well as the dimensional constraints of a city parking space, led to a variety of sketch concepts, ranging from a series of multiple spaces the user could choose when and how to occupy, to an elevated platform to preserve the space below. All of these, we realized, were formal moves that we as designers had chosen to make; the only true flexibility was restricted to how the user chose to occupy the space we created for them. But then we thought: what if we simply provided a framework, within which was a flexibility not only of use, but also of feeling and of shape? What if, within this framework, a user could modify his or her environment to desired spatial, formal, and comfort needs?