The technical definition of a design charrette is a workshop designed to be an intensive hands-on session to explore design options. When I studied architecture at Lawrence Tech, design charrettes were meant to give student’s some dedicated time to work on their projects. Every Friday for three hours we would pile around a large conference table and sketch out ideas, thoughts and notes
about whatever architectural design project we were working on at the moment. We brainstormed on paper and in our heads. The setting was quiet, yet informal. The professor was available for help and would occasionally walk around the room and make sure everyone was working. I always thought the whole process was a little redundant. I mean, I’d rather hang out in my apartment, in my pajamas, and work when the mood struck me. Instead, I was forced to be creative between the hours of noon and 3p.m. on Fridays.
Anyone who writes, paints or designs knows that it happens when it happens. You can’t force the words to come out. You don’t just pick up a paintbrush and create a masterpiece on cue. I should have skipped more. OK. I should have skipped. Period. I never did. I was 18 and too chicken. But, that’s neither here, nor there.
This is my most embarrassing moment and a warning for those of you out there. I figure if you have been forewarned then maybe it won’t happen to you. We were allowed to wear headphones; the prevailing wisdom was that music could spur our creative on to bigger and better things. Well, I listened. And. Sang.
One day, I was in a groove. The thoughts were flowing. I was jamming to some eighties tunes. OMD. Yaz. Depeche Mode. And, then I happened to look up. The entire class was staring at me. I had been singing my little heart out for over 15 minutes and no one stopped me. No one tapped my shoulder. They just watched. Ugh! So, yea. Definitely my most embarrassing moment, but I did get an “A” on that particular project.