GAMING: The Design Experience


Traditionally, design is a linear process in which the original problem may have changed or key stakeholders may lose interest or move on from the project as it develops. The design charrette process creates a participatory design event where interested parties gather to exchange views, information and understanding to co-create a concept of a building that meets the needs of the users.

VLK Architects uses a Gaming Charrette Process that takes the building program and creates a graphical representation of the spaces which are used to investigate and create various design strategies in response to a design task. A charrette typically is conducted over a two-day period at the client's facilities to enhance the users access. This also allows participants to come and go as needed to check on work activities, etc.

Day One

The first day begins with a presentation by the designers reviewing the problem statement of the facility, showing examples of solutions of similar facility types and elements while measuring feedback from the participants as to the imagery and type of spaces that they would like to see considered in their new building design. In the afternoon, the participants assemble in small groups and begin 'gaming' their designs. They begin placing the gaming pieces on a blank canvas considering adjacencies, interior and exterior spaces, functional requirements, etc. At the end of the day, they each present their 'games,' including pros and cons of each. The group then votes on the games to determine the favored solution to the design task. During the evening VLK takes the top two voted games and formalizes them into more of a building format taking clues from the pros and cons, and refining them by creating sketch views of the building to give the participants a feel for its character.

Day Two

The second day begins with VLK presenting the refined options and character sketches followed by a group discussion of the solutions. The participants then vote again to select the final design and discuss why it is the favored option. VLK follows by taking this concept and working through the remaining design process.