st. mary's charrette

origin of the term "Charrette"

Charrette, (shuh-ret), is a French word meaning "cart."

During the 19th century, the term came to use in the prime of the École des Beaux Arts, a number of influential art schools, in Paris. Students were known to feverishly complete their final drawings as the schools' Charrettes arrived to collect their projects.

Legend states that students would even climb aboard the Charrette and continue working on their illustrations while riding through the streets of Paris. Another origination comes from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. At a time when travel was slow and lengthy, the term Charrette was attributed to politicians and officials who sequestered themselves on long carriage rides. During this journey, they worked together in problem solving and decision making. This definition is the one that most closely resembles today's current understanding of the word in America.

today's charrette

Used almost exclusively in the design industry, a Charrette is an intensive, multi-day planning process that solicits feedback on pending building and development projects. A Charrette is intended to gather input from government officials, developers, company employees, neighborhood residents and anyone else interested in the project. A Charrette results in a unified development plan in which everyone expresses a voice and ownership.


If you have a question about the future of St. Mary's Hospital, please send us an e-mail. We'll respond back to you as quickly as possible. We'll also keep this Q&A section updated with questions from important stakeholders, like you, as the answers are available.

  • What is a Charette?
    The Charrette involves a holistic, collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a feasible plan to support the vision of the St. Mary's Hospital Campus. 
  • How long will the Charrette process last?
    The Charrette is a series of meetings and will last one week (November 6 - 12, 2009).
  • Why are you having one?
    We are committed to growing the St. Mary's Hospital Campus responsibly over time with input from patients, neighbors, employees, community leaders and architects. The Charrette will bring all of these parties together to focus on the long-term vision of the St. Mary's Hospital Campus.
  • Who do I contact if I have a question about the development of St. Mary's Hospital or about the St. Mary's Charrette?
    There will be regular updates on this website as well as community newsletters distributed about the plans and developments planned for St. Mary's Hospital. If you have a question you can send your email to
  • How can I get involved as a volunteer at St. Mary's?
    others. Volunteering at St. Mary's Hospital provides a unique experience filled with fellowship, camaraderie and the satisfaction of providing good help to those in need. We are a neighborhood hospital with a rich history. Some of our volunteers have been with us for over 40 years. By volunteering with us, you will not only be working to help your community but joining the St. Mary's family and making St. Mary's connections with our patients and tremendously talented staff. For more information please contact Patricia Fawcett at (804) 281-8309 or

What is a Charrette?

Purpose of the Charrette

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