Transdisciplinary Charrettes: A Research Method for Sustainable Design

By Jasmine Palmer, Keri Chiveralls, Stephen Pullen, Jian Zuo, Lou Wilson and George Zillante.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As the largest consumer of resources globally, the construction industry faces significant challenges due to future changes in resource availability. How might this complex industry achieve reduction of resource consumption and waste given the disconnections existing between stakeholders in the building procurement process and the persistence of discipline based knowledge? This question is among many being addressed by a current Australian Research Council funded research project entitled ‘Reconsidering Sustainable Building and Design: A Cultural Change Approach.’ The project involves ten partners from government and industry, and academic partners in China and Germany. A feature of the project is the introduction of transdisciplinary charrettes to transcend disciplinary knowledge boundaries and promote innovation. Design charrettes have a long history in the architecture profession and are effectively employed in transdisciplinary planning and building projects worldwide. The project intends to employ a charrette based method for data collection and analysis. Scant literature exists in relation to such a research method. Hence, a literature review has been undertaken to differentiate the charrettes models currently employed in design and consultation; observing attributes of each relevant the research process. This paper discusses the outcomes of the review and outlines how this information will be employed in the project to achieve effective reduction of waste in the construction industry. The resultant ‘Charrette Methodology Matrix’ is also applicable to other projects and industries which may seek to engage a charrette based research method.

Keywords: Charrette, Design, Research Method, Sustainability, Transdisciplinary

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.95-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 489.925KB).

Jasmine Palmer

Lecturer in Architecture and Sustainable Design, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Ms. Jasmine Palmer has trained and practiced in Architecture prior to joining the University of South Australia as a Lecturer in Architecture and Sustainable Design. She holds a Master’s Degree in Building Science (Sustainable Design).

Dr. Keri Chiveralls

Research Fellow, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Keri Chiveralls completed her PhD in Anthropology and Social Inquiry at the University of Adelaide in 2008. Since then, she has worked as a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Social Research at the University of Adelaide, completing contract research across a number of different areas. She is now based at the University of South Australia, where she is working as a Research Fellow with the School of Natural and Built Environments.

Dr. Stephen Pullen

Senior Lecturer, School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Jian Zuo

Lecturer, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Jian Zuo has a PhD from the University of South Australia and a Master’s degree in Engineering from Wuhan University, in the People’s Republic of China. Currently, he is a lecturer and researcher in the School of Natural and Built Environments. His main research interests relate to the sustainable built environment.

Dr. Lou Wilson

Senior Lecturer in Urban & Regional Planning (Social Planning), School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr. Wilson is an urban sociologist at the University of South Australia. His research interests are in sustainable communities, social inclusion/exclusion, social cohesion and social capital. He is currently working on a project that seeks to assess the effectiveness of public expenditure in reducing social exclusion. It seeks to develop innovative new forms of quantitative modelling using geographical information systems (GIS). He is also part of a research team that is developing a model to understand and address tensions between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of urban development and the implications for assessing sustainable development in urban areas.

Dr. George Zillante

Head of School, School of Architecture & Built Environment, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia