Community Performance Space | Charette Competition 2017

  • Downstage is a redevelopment proposal for NeighborWorks Blackstone River CDC (NWBRV), a nonprofit in Woonsocket, RI, to transform a former loading dock into a viable outdoor performance venue. The “client,” NWBRV, encouraged students to envision “a highly visible and vibrant gateway to the city’s center celebrating the history of the community, the mills, the [Blackstone] river and the Millrace district.” 

    The week-long, department-wide charette (an annual department competition) divides students into 12 teams—each a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, along with advising faculty members. The goal is to provide students with the kind of design problems faced by professional architectural firms, which are frequently invited to submit designs for commission with very little lead time. Winning the bid requires quick thinking, cohesive teamwork and the ability to present ideas that accurately convey design intent.

    Our team [C] took first prize in the competition- we proposed a segmented structure that would provide a walkway connecting the buildings on either side of the loading dock as well as discrete, flexible performance spaces.

    The top five proposals are on public display at the Millrace Gallery in Woonsocket from November 8–15, with students speaking about their projects at the opening on November 9. NWBRV will gather community feedback in response to their designs, take the best elements from each and seek funding to implement a theater in the space.

    For more information about the event and Charette media coverage please visit