Charrette Results Sharing
In October 2012, close to 20 volunteers with design, planning and development backgrounds explored Portsmouth’s Rock Street Garage and adjacent properties for their potential tosupport mixed-used development, including workforce housing. It was alightning-fastprocess that produced vivid conceptual drawings.
The charrette process highlights pathways to new workforce housing in the Greater Seacoast region. View the results by clicking on the links below.
Rock Street Garage Listening Session Notes - October 2012
Rock Street Garage Charrette Reveal Presentation - January 2013
Third Annual Design Charrette
The Workforce Housing Coalition’s 3rd Annual Design Charrette (October 10th, 11th & 12th) spotlighted two parcels. The first focused on the Rock Street Garage (owned by the City of Portsmouth) and its connection to adjacent parcels (in private ownership). The Rock Street Garage was identified as surplus property in a 2007 report of the City of Portsmouth Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Building Re-Use. The neighborhood is in a growth corridor and equidistant to Downtown and the West End. While current uses vary widely from business to residential to municipal/public space, the charrette process offered an opportunity to explore the area’s “highest and best uses”.
The second parcel considered is a city block in Dover, NH, an area bounded by Central Avenue, Fifth Street, Chestnut Street and Sixth Street. While it is situated at a key gateway to downtown Dover, the area has only recently begun to reflect such prominence. The Centrix Bank building, which is part of the study area, offers an inspiring model of urban and mixed-use redevelopment. The City’s innovative Form Based Code, which allows more flexibility than traditional zoning, may offer a path to further enhancements to the area. The charrette offered an opportunity to explore how the other properties in the study area might one day contribute to a more vibrant, cohesive, and successful whole.
Charrettes follow a 3-step process
In the first phase, background information including maps, zoning, etc. is gathered to better understand the study area. We then recruit an all-volunteer design team, comprised of local professionals, including: architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects, REALTORS®, bankers and City officials.
In the second phase, the design team conducts a site walk and a meeting with invited property owners and key stakeholders, such as City officials. Team members take note of the owners’ goals and aspirations for their properties and the neighborhood and develop a contextual understanding of the study area. Then a a public “listening session”, lead by a trained facilitator, is held. All abutters within a reasonable distance of the study area, as well as City officials, are invited to attend. This fact-finding exercise helps the design team secure as much information as possible from those who could be impacted by changes in the neighborhood.
The final phase is the charrette, which is an intensive design workshop where the design team generates conceptual plans for the study area, including elevations, a site plan, space programming, development pro forma, evaluation of potential opportunities and barriers and implementation recommendations.
Charrette results are documented and shared
The charrette process is then documented in a final report to include a set of plan drawings, architectural concepts, documentation on possible code or policy changes and a brief narrative of the process and results. City officials, as well as all property owners in the study area, receive copies of the report, which will be complete for both properties in December. A Charrette reveal event will be hosted to share the results and present publicly.
Special thanks to:
City of Portsmouth