The Town Architect:

Building community—both social and physical—requires considerable refinement of large-scale masterplans.  It also requires that individual buildings be imbedded in the plan and woven together to create the urban fabric that supports community.  Read More >


Advocacy for the Public Realm:

Mike Watkins readily accepts opportunities to promote principles and accomplishments that advance the quality of the public realm.  His academic involvement, lectures and presentations attest to this.  Watkins frequently gives tours of his work (most notably Kentlands and Norton Commons) to professional colleagues, municipal staff and officials and the general public from both the U.S. and abroad.  Read More >


The Charrette:

The term “charrette,” popularized largely by new urbanist planners and architects, refers to the intense, inclusive planning process used to design many new urbanist communities.


Type & Style:

  • Type is a form, determined by function, confirmed by culture. In other words, it is an artifact (building, thoroughfare, etc.) intended for a specific use, having become a carrier of meaning through familiarity.
  • Style/Fashion is a permanent attribute of design typically subject to short-term cycles.

Origin of the term “Charrette”

The French word, “charrette” means “cart” and is often used to describe the final, intense work effort expended by art and architecture students to meet a project deadline.  This use of the term is said to originate from the École des Beaux Arts in Paris during the 19th century, where proctors circulated a cart, or “charrette”, to collect final drawings while students frantically put finishing touches on their work.

— The National Charrette Institute