For those of you unfamiliar, a "Charrette" (pronounced Shuh-ret) is a short, intense, creative activity.  Usually it's performed by a team.  Starting from scratch, the end result is a presentation of a solution to a design problem which can serve as inspiration or proposal for future projects.

Group Discussion
Recently the Collaborative Design Group with LGA Studios held a Charrette for further expansion of the Gold Hill Mesa neighborhood.  First, the team photographed and studied the undeveloped land, comparing it to a site model.  Next, they sketched and brainstormed.  The final result was some cohesive ideas and graphics to show where Gold Hill Mesa might go next.

Larry Presenting A Master Plan
LGA Studios supports the idea of "Traditional Neighborhood Development," (TND) one of the founding principles of Gold Hill Mesa.  In a TND, there are a range of housing types, public spaces connected to the neighborhood, and other amenities within walking distance.  Planning a successful TND requires additional consideration to the future experience of the residents, so the advice of professionals generated from this Charrette will be valuable to Gold Hill Mesa.

This past year, Larry Gilland also consulted on the LEED certification for a 2011 Parade of Homes' residence in the existing Gold Hill Mesa neighborhood.

Site Comparison
For more photos of the Charrette, check out the CDG blog.

Listening to the Presentation
On a side note, I love the origin of the term "Charrette".  From the Wikipedia article:

Thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 19th century, the word charrette is from the French for "cart" or "chariot".

It was not unusual for student architects to continue working furiously, at the last minute, on the illustrations for their design presentations, even while riding in the school cart (en charrette) through the streets of Paris en route to submit the projects to their professors. Hence, the term metamorphosed into the current design-related usage in conjunction with working right up until a deadline.

An alternative explanation is that at the end of a class in the studio a charrette would be wheeled among the student artists to pick up their work for review while they, each working furiously to apply the finishing touch, were said to be working en charrette.

In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century when travel took long periods, a Charrette referred to long carriage rides in which politicians and policy makers would be sequestered together in order to collaborate in solving a set problem over the duration of their journey. This origin is most similar to the current usage of the word in the design world