What the Charrette?

A Comic’s View of Recent High-Density Housing Design Talks

It’s 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and I’m standing in a sea of architects and designers at the Santa Barbara Junior High School gym for a “design charrette” hosted by the city’s housing department and local American Institute of Architects chapter. If you’ve never had quality time with architects, and I’ve had way too much of that in my lifetime (my sister and her boyfriend: obsessed with each other, and then designing buildings), you’ll need to get up-to-speed with a few things about architects.

Click to enlarge photo

As much as I like poking fun at design geeks drafting on a Saturday afternoon, these do-gooder architects are looking to tackle what the city has been discussing for five years: the General Plan for the city’s future. The goal of the charrette is to brainstorm what shape and character high-density housing might take in Santa Barbara, without sacrificing elements of good design, neighborhood aesthetics, and environmental impact. Designers and members of the community will have a chance to discuss the economic reality of the proposed models and potential challenges in the undertaking.

Click to enlarge photo

If you’re interested in the direction of housing development in S.B., part two of the architectural saga will be this Saturday, July 23, at the SBJHS gym, 721 East Cota Street. Designers will refine their proposals before a presentation/critique at 11:30 a.m. Their findings will be presented to City Council in early August.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Observed Altercation Leads to State Street Car Chase

Crash at De la Vina and Alamar precedes hours-long search for occupant.

Santa Barbara County Sets Carpinteria Cannabis Grow Cap

Neighborhood activist Anna Carrillo scores a victory in limiting pot acreage.

Evacuees Across Santa Barbara County Allowed Back Home This Evening

Mandatory evacuation order lifted for all burn areas.

New Scam Involves ‘Ground Stability Testing’

Fake 'land tech' tried to enter a home on the Westside.

Family Sues Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for Wrongful Death

Five deputies shot Bryan Carreño 20 times.