2018 charrette

“Charrette reminded me why I chose the path I did towards my profession. I saw myself in the eyes of the intelligent and motivated young people who took part in this wonderful event. Teamwork and creativity at its best. Can’t wait till next year.”

– Paul Lucien, P.E., Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Engineering/Architecture Design Division

Each June, the Salvadori Annual Student Design Charrette brings together 100 students from schools all over the city to participate in an all-day design challenge. In the morning, students are given a design challenge related to the built environment, and are asked to create a solution according to a particular set of parameters and using only the materials provided. For the rest of the day, they work in teams made up of students from different schools, with the assistance of professional architects and engineers from New York’s leading firms, who volunteer their time for the event. Solutions are presented and/or tested at the end of the day.

This year, they designed, built, and tested their tall towers. During the event, fifth to eighth grade students were placed in small, mixed-age design teams, mentored by engineers and architects from some of the city’s leading firms. Each team used math and science concepts to design their towers to support as much weight and using as little raw material as possible. Each team’s structure had to be at least 30 inches high, with a flat surface at least 30 inches above the base that was used to hold weight. Each structure’s efficiency (live load / dead load) was tested until failure.



This project is made possible through a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Challenges from previous years include:

  • The Rube Goldberg: Constructing a Roller Coaster
  • Water Towers & Resistance: Constructing Spaghetti Water Towers to Withstand Earthquakes
  • A Study in Span: Constructing a Bridge Using Spaghetti
  • Withstand the Wind: Constructing a Tower of Cards to Withstand Lateral Force
  • Spaghetti Structures: Designing a Structure Using Fragile Materials
  • Modular Urban Skyline Structures: Designing a Skyscraper from Shipping Containers
  • Green City: Designing an Eco-Friendly Community
  • People-Friendly Public Spaces: Redesigning Times Square
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