Design Charette for the Portfolio Café.

On Thursday, November 3rd, the professors of the department of Interior Architecture at RISD announced to the whole student body a design charette that would last from that Thursday morning until Saturday at noon.

The whole student body was randomly divided into 10 teams that were going to compete against each other, and propose a new design for the Portfolio Café, located in “15 West”, a student residence that houses the library and the café on its first floor.

Students met with their professors as well as the director of the dining services at RISD and the Portfolio Café chef. The cafe currently serves 500 meals/day, to students living in the residence, off campus students, as well as professionals working downtown. The issues with the current design were listed, and students took notes while on a tour of the cafe. Many improvements are needed, and a complete redesign is expected.

After three days [and late nights] of hard work, the 10 teams pinned up their work, for the jury to review it. After deliberation, a total of 4 runners up were selected. After a final selection that took place on Saturday afternoon, the jury decided to award a prize to the 2 ex-aqueous winning teams. They have been rewarded with a cash prize, and the runners-up won a chef’s dinner at the Cafe. The winning teams will also meet with the client as consultants for the design process.

This charette was a great opportunity for students of the department to work with each other, get to know one another. The connections between grads and undergrads is not always common. Having a busy schedule along with high work load does not allow for much collaboration on a daily basis. The project allowed students to finally know their classmates, while giving a insight of the design world, and its constant design charettes.


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