Frequently Asked Questions
Can first-year/non-CED students participate in a charrette?
Yes! We have had all years and disciplines of students participate in charrettes on a regular basis. Good skillsets to have are being able to play well with others—as large group and small group consensus needs to happen quick and often—and be flexible, dedicated, and have a good attitude. Academically, everyone has different skillsets and ideas that are beneficial in an open design process like a charrette. It may be drawing, historic building knowledge, GIS, or native plants expertise, OR it may be writing, public speaking, working with kids, speaking Spanish or another life experience! If you love a challenge, can think on your feet, and have not lost your sense of fun, then you are a good candidate for a charrette team member!
But, I have no charrette/drawing/historic building/landscape experience?!
No problem! The BLAs, MLAs and MEPDs learn about historic architectural styles and significant features. The MHPs and MEPDs learn how to draw in plan view. And the MEPDs teach us how to be organized and pull it all together! And non-CED students learn design and teach us their best practices. You will learn from each other as much or more than you will learn from the facilitators (Pratt and Jennifer)! Each charrette is different, but the rhythms and verses are very similar.
Will I need to be excused from classes/studio/work during the charrette?
Yes. One of the reasons charrettes are successful planning tools is because team members dedicate the full time period to the design problem at hand. Therefore full participation is required – you will need to be excused from classes and work to participate. As for making up time in studio, that is completely up to you. There will not be “free time” during the 3-day charrette to work on other projects. We begin in the morning at breakfast and work late. Depending on what the group is feeling, we may work until only 8pm, or up until midnight.
Will I need to provide my own supplies, food, lodging and/or transportation?
No. We have all supplies needed for a mobile studio, and the host community provides for all meals (including vegetarian options) snacks and lodging. We will travel in UGA vehicles to and from the charrette site.
What are the benefits to participating in a charrette?
It is organized chaos, but it is an extremely valuable learning experience. It is real work with real expectations, and our community clients are extremely impressed with the quality of charrette results. It is a great experience and great portfolio material.
What do other students think about the charrette experience?
Here’s a sampler of recent student feedback, when asked what they would share with other students interested in charrettes:
You learn more in three days than a year of studio class. Be flexible! I find it very beneficial to work with other disciplines because we each have a very different knowledge base which makes for better end products in my opinion. As students, we often do not get a lot of opportunities to work with professionals and out in the community and the CED gives us that opportunity with the charrette course. Charrettes are a great way to earn real-world experience… a charrette is fast-paced and that a lot of things will go over your head… it is impossible to keep up with what the other teams are discovering and investigating, but if all goes according to plan, it will all fit together when the product is finished and polished. I think it is a great opportunity to broaden your experience and exposure to different aspects of the field.