With IdeaScout, a company located in Tampere, Finland, I have been involved in a number of so called “charrettes”. They are intense three to five day workshops, during which students, faculty and staff work together to ideate an improved working and learning environment.
Attention is also paid to the services supporting the interior plan and functions. What needs to be in place to make the areas reach function well?
Depending on the type of charrette and the problem area in the educational premises, the ideation is focused on interior design, or on the larger picture of the building. During the charrettes the problem is discussed with the participants. The IdeaScout team then presents a rough idea for improvement, which was distilled from a pre-charrette session with the core team, generally consisting of the facilities management, dedicated faculty or staff, an architect and where possible representatives from the local student union. After the introductory session all participants are given the opportunity to speak their minds about what is good or bad about the current situation.
The further process of the charrette consists of several sessions of smaller teamwork, starting at a large scale of designating zones for different purposes, later refining to teams working on a specific smaller area. In between these short intense sessions the group comes together to present their ideas to each other.
An important part of the charrettes is the ‘open doors event’, organized near the end of the charrette. The project space is transformed to visualize the results of the charrette, and all students, staff and faculty are invited to have a look at the plans. There is at that moment still the possibility to give ideas and imput, through talking to the charrette participants, the IdeaScout team and the architect. After the ‘open doors event’ the plans are handed to the architect, who will then finalize the design, after which it can be realized.