So what is a Design Charrette, anyway?
Simply stated, a Design Charrette is a brainstorming session where lots of ideas are brought forth by both professional designers and local citizens, in an attempt to resolve a problem of local interest. Because of the compressed time frame, the conclusions reached are usually conceptual. They discuss how different plan elements should relate to each other, as opposed to the details of how a particular building would actually be constructed. At their best, Charrettes blend the broad experience of design professionals with local citizen’s knowledge of their community to produce a plan of action that deals with a particular issue of concern to that community. The Charrette provides an overall framework within which final solutions can be developed. It sets a tone and gives a direction against which future decisions may be measured.
Castagna Consulting Group has led or participated in Design Charrettes for the NH Towns of Antrim, Belmont, Deerfield, Bradford, Whitefield, Greenfield, Gilmanton, Weare, Goffstown, Candia, Lee, Rochester, Stratham, The NH Cities of Franklin and Manchester. The issues that were addressed stem from downtown revitalization, historical preservation, the need to combine old town traditions and values with modern day development to benefit the citizens, creating the basis for a master plan or enhance one in place.
In the case of the NH Community Technical College, Castagna partnered with the NH Governor’s Office of Energy and Community Services to redevelop opportunities in energy technologies, design a new curriculum for students and the general public, create a resource and conference center dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy resources on a national level, create a master plan for the college campus for long-term growth, and authored a grant proposal for funding of the project for the Urban Consortium Energy Task Force.