On April 4, Gruskin Group and Kean University teamed up to host “Let’s Charrette at Kean University,” a free, multidisciplinary design competition. This year represented the 10th consecutive year that Gruskin Group hosted and ran the all-day event at Kean in which teams of college students from different design disciplines worked together to solve challenges using design. The competition provided nearly 140 students of architecture, graphic design, interior design, and industrial design with a unique experience to collaborate on multidisciplinary teams guided by 15 professional design mentors to create an integrated solution.
This year’s Let’s Charrette challenge was to re-envision the United States Postal Service as a 21st century retail experience to better compete in a world of email, FedEx, and UPS, and to re-engage the USPS as a central community fixture, especially for younger adults who are less likely to visit a post office. Students and their professional mentors were asked to incorporate technologies such as drones/robots, and to create an app for smartphones to order and manage deliveries and services, and to provide new service offerings such as point-to-point deliveries. The goal was to provide USPS services in a more expedient, cost-efficient and timely manner.
According to Kenneth Gruskin, AIA, founder of Let’s Charrette and principal of Gruskin Group, an architecture/design firm, “Most design schools do not foster the importance of how various design disciplines will need to work together on real-world projects. Students generally are taught in disciplinary silos. Let’s Charrette exposes design students to working on multidisciplinary teams with other students and experts in a variety of design disciplines. Immersing students in a cross-disciplinary collaboration experience allows them to experience the rigors of an actual, professional design studio early in their professional development.”