Urban Action

Charrettes are nothing new to architects. In fact, the term (which describes a quick design challenge) comes from 19th century architecture students studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts who would work on their project to the very last second. Literally, they would continue to work on their projects even as those projects were being wheeled off to be displayed and out of the rooms on en charrette- the cart. But we’re not in France during this video, we’re farther East.

This video documents a 72 hour architecture competition in Israel. During that competition- er festival (their word), 10 teams intervened in public spaces producing a variety of solutions to two problems: the first problem had architectural solutions and the second set of solutions answered the question “how many different ways are there to style a pair of bright orange overalls?” You may not be crazy about the individual results (to either problem) but it certainly looked like a good time.

The pace of architecture usually seems glacial, but I’m sure for these participants the cart was moving way too fast. Some of these speedily set-up structures may not be too sturdy, but the point wasn’t to build lasting monuments. As far as I can tell, the point was to spark ideas. And to engage the public, and students alike, into thinking about how physical structures can rehabilitate dysfunctional public spaces. Quickly.

But they still kind of look like stylish prisoners.


April 7, 2011