charette

a creative process akin to visual brainstorming that is used by design professionals to develop solutions to a design problem within a limited timeframe


A friend of mine used this word this morning, and I had no idea what it meant. When I confessed my ignorance, he defined it well, but I couldn’t recall the definition precisely enough for this entry, so I’m using a definition I found on a Carnegie Mellon Library web page. Here is their entry for charette in its entirety:
“The term ‘charette’ evolved from a pre-1900 exercise at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. Architectural students were given a design problem to solve within an allotted time. When that time was up, the students would rush their drawings from the studio to the Ecole in a cart called a charrette. Students often jumped in the cart to finish drawings on the way. The term evolved to refer to the intense design exercise itself. Today it refers to a creative process akin to visual brainstorming that is used by design professionals to develop solutions to a design problem within a limited timeframe.”

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3 Responses to charette

  1. Jay Paxson says:

    CHARETTE was my mother’s maiden name so I was particularly curious about the word’s meaning. She hailed from Quebec but lived Pawtucket, Rhode Island prior to meeting my father. Its strange how someone can live nearly 60 years and never hear a particular word being used… even stranger, to learn that its meaning is completely unrelated to its formerly known meaning. My mother died very young (53 and some 45 years ago) from a genetic blood disorder (Factor V Leiden) which exactly year ago very nearly claimed my life as well. I would have enjoyed asking her about her maiden name and her awareness (if any) for its use in this context.
    Jay Paxson, Elko Nevada

  2. charett says:

    my first name is actually charett – i always thought it was made up!

  3. Tim Dingman says:

    My son is an architecture student at NJIT in Newark. Every day and every project turns into a charett

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