Students particpate in a charrett training course

IARD Students at INTBAU Charrette in Norway

IARD Students at INTBAU Charrette in Norway

1st April 2010

In January 2010 two IARD students Chris Millar and Kathryn Hay travelled to Evje in southern Norway to participate in a charrette training course run by the International Network for Traditional Buildings Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU).

They joined architects, urban designers and other built environment professionals from around the world to participate in this collaborative design workshop involving a wide range of stakeholders. The purpose of the Evje charrette was to produce a masterplan for the redevelopment of the town centre, intended for gradual implementation over a twenty year period. Increasing density and creating a vision for a sustainable, mixed-use town centre with all amenities within walking distance were the main objectives.

At the start of the charrette, the participants became acquainted with the town and the surrounding area and were introduced to the key principles that underpin sustainable urbanism. During the next few days the participants listened to the local community, analysed the layout and architecture of the town centre and identified the key constraints and opportunities. The design process that followed was undertaken in multi-disciplinary groups , with each of the participants bringing their own disciplinary skills to the table. By the end of the week the civic hall was covered in graphic representations of collated data, and a final hand-drawn masterplan, ready to be presented to the local community, who expressed their approval through an informal vote.

The openness of the project effectively engendered an atmosphere of trust between the public and 'the professionals', and certainly the collaborative nature of the project was a clear ingredient in its success. Whether future planning decisions will reflect this democratic process remains to be seen, but it may be hoped that it will provide the influence necessary to deliver the change that residents wish to see.