Student Design Charrette 2018

Charrette Overview

Structured as an on-site hackathon-style partner challenge, the 2018 Student Design Charrette is open to all undergraduate and graduate architecture students enrolled in an architectural program at qualifying schools outlined under eligibility below. A maximum of twenty teams will be accepted.

Each team will be assigned a coach from BLTa to provide guidance and support. Additionally, students may engage current or former professors or internship supervisors to act as a virtual coach, available via video chat.

For more information check the FAQ.


Each member of the winning team will be awarded $1,000 and an internship with BLT Architects for the summer of 2018.

Challenge Description

You can download a PDF preview of the challenge here.


Registration is open to teams of two and will remain open until February 3, 2018 at 11:59pm ET, or until twenty teams have registered. Both students must complete the registration form and upload all required documents. After the registration period, students may add their name to a waiting list.

Additionally, BLTa will offer a travel stipend of $0.545 per mile for students traveling 100-300 miles.


  • The charrette is open to students enrolled in an architectural program at predetermined NAAB or CACB accredited schools during the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • All participants must be eligible to work in the United States and over the age of 18.
  • A registered student at one of the following schools:
      • Columbia University
      • Cornell University
      • Pratt Institute
      • Syracuse University
      • Virginia Tech
      • The Catholic University of America
      • Howard University
      • University of Maryland
      • Princeton University
      • New Jersey Institute of Technology
      • Carnegie Mellon University
      • Drexel University
      • Parsons School of Design
      • Pennsylvania State University
      • University of Pennsylvania
      • Philadelphia University
      • Temple University

Rules and Regulations

      • All participants must provide a scanned copy of his or her student ID and proof of major upon registration.
      • Each team must have exactly two individuals.
      • Participation assumes acceptance of these regulations. Entrants who do not adhere to any charrette rules may be immediately disqualified.

Judges and Judging Criteria

The judging panel will be released prior to the charrette. Coaches will not be involved in the judging process.

Teams will be judged on the following criteria:

Creative Approach:

      • The design response is innovative and inspirational
      • The design addresses any critical issues

Response to Site:

      • The design responds to the physical aspects
      • The design responds to site context


      • The design considers the environmental impact and energy use
      • The design considers social sustainability, occupant lifestyle and well-being


      • Planning and building organization is clear and appropriate
      • There is a clear structural, technical and constructional rationale


Please submit any questions to [email protected].

Q: When and where will the Charrette take place?

A: The Charrette will take place on February 10, 2018 from 10am to 6pm. It will be held at BLTa’s Philadelphia headquarters: 1216 Arch Street, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Q: What is the grand prize this year?

A: The grand prize consists of a paid internship at BLT Architects for the summer of 2018, as well as a $1,000 per each individual. The winning entry will be posted on the BLT Architects website.

Q: Do I have to be a student in the United States?

A: Yes. The charrette is only open to students enrolled in approved architectural programs at selected schools.

Q: Are graduate students eligible?

A: The charrette is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Q: How many people are allowed per team?

A: Each team will have exactly two individuals, both of whom must meet eligibility requirements.

Q: If I don’t have a partner, can BLTa assign one to me?

A: While BLTa cannot assign partners, individuals looking for team members are encouraged to post a query on BLTa’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/BLTarchitects/.

Q: What is an employee coach?

A: Each team will be paired with a BLTa employee to serve as their coach.

Q: What is a virtual coach?

A: Students may register one virtual coach per team in advance. Admissible coaches can be current or former professors or internship supervisors, and should be available via video chat during charrette hours. Virtual coaches will be contacted by BLTa to confirm their availability and consent. Each team may call their virtual coach no more than twice, for no more than five minutes per call.

Q: I’m a student in an accredited architecture program, but don’t see my school on the list. Am I still eligible to enter?

A: For questions of eligibility and exceptions, email [email protected]

Q: I am currently a student that will be graduating before the registration deadline. Am I still eligible to enter?

A: No. Students must be enrolled during the registration period.

Q: How much does registration cost?

A: Participation in the Student Design Charrette is free of charge.

Q: When is the deadline for registration?

A: Registration closes on February 3, 2018 at 11:59pm ET or when twenty teams have registered.

Q: Are there any requirements on what I have to submit as a registrant?

      • Entrants must submit a scanned copy of student ID as a JPEG (maximum size of 10 MB)
      • Proof of major must be provided
      • Both partners must provide all materials at the time of registration

Q: Where do I sign up to get the prompt?

A: All those who register will receive notices on when the prompt will be released.

Q: Will there be a travel stipend?

A: BLTa will offer a travel stipend of $0.545 per mile for students traveling more than 100 miles to a maximum of 300 miles.

Q: When will winners be announced?

A: Winners will be announced onsite at the end of the charrette on February 10, 2018.

Q: In the case of inclement weather, will the event be postponed?

A: A snow date for the charrette is scheduled for February 17, 2018.

Q: Should I bring lunch?

A: No. Boxed lunches and snacks will be provided free-of-charge.

Q: Do I need to bring anything?

A: One week prior to the competition, all registered competitors will receive an email outlining required and prohibited items.