charette
6 years ago No Comments

(pronounced shah-RET)

The “ette” part of this word gives it away as French, no? Depending on whether or not you work well under stress, the lovely word charette can strike fear in the hearts of those who hear it, for it now means either a short contest (commonly involving students) and/or a type of fast, creative brainstorming session, the goal of which is to develop multiple solutions for a specific design problem. After doing a little research, we found that the word developed from a 19th-century 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.”