Archemy Consulting Ltd Services | Sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods

Building Design Facilitation

We use a “charrette” format for leading collaborative building design workshops. A charrette is a structured form of “brainstorming” session with practical outcomes. It is more than a design workshop.  A charrette is part of a larger process used in urban planning and building design called the Integrated Design Process, or IDP.

A charrette, whether used for community planning or building design, is an inter-disciplinary session, involving project stakeholders (owners, users, staff), design and operation experts, construction advisors etc. In a charrette there are co-operative tasks set with time limits for achieving a synthesis of design ideas in sketch form. A charrette can produce a “roadmap” for a project, as well as enriching the design concepts, setting performance goals etc. The existence of a defined roadmap and goals give credence and form to the project, not only making it better, but making it easier to understand and implement.

For the owner and user group, the charrette moves design towards a truly responsive state and builds a feeling of ownership for the project before it begins construction.

The IDP process is justified by the well-proven observation that changes and improvements in any planning and design process are relatively easy to make at the beginning, but become increasingly difficult, costly and disruptive as the process unfolds and commitments are made. The IDP is “iterative”, that is it requires regular review of early assumptions, goals etc.


If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man,- and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages, it must be shown that it has produced better dwellings without making them more costly; and the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

Henry Thoreau