Charrettes and Competitions

GSA continually seeks to improve its program activities to better serve the public, GSA’s regional offices, and the design and art communities.  New and unique issues constantly arise that call for fresh approaches and novel thinking.  To respond to these situations, the center organizes various charrettes and initiates pilot projects each year. 

The word charrette is an architectural term referring to a study of a design issue by a team of design professionals within a limited time frame.  In essence, it is an intense brainstorming session.  A charrette consists of an interdisciplinary design team of four to six professionals spending one or two days focusing on a specific design issue in order to develop a design strategy and set of recommendations leading to design solution or direction.

Since September 11, 2001, GSA has organized more than a dozen security charrettes to utilize the expertise of architects, landscape architects, and urban designers in meeting perimeter security requirements while maintaining a sense of openness and accessibility around federal buildings.  Other charrettes include the following:

  • Competitions as part of the architect/engineer (A/E) selection interview process for a new U.S. courthouse in Nashville, Tennessee and a border station in Massena, New York;
  • Selection of an artist for an Art in Architecture commission for the U.S. courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri; and the
  • Development of recommendations in the feasibility stage of project development on expansion of the historically significant Chicago Federal Center by Mies van der Rohe.

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Last Reviewed 2015-08-21