Montana State University

Inaugural student Backyard Design Charrette to be held March 21-23

March 20, 2014

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Montana State University students will participate in a Backyard Design Charrette Competition and present their ideas for socially inspired design to Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, on Saturday, March 22.

Part of the President’s Fine Arts Series, interdisciplinary teams of students interested in design and social will design and build adequate shelters for the design charrette competition, which they will then sleep in overnight.  This will not only give the participants an opportunity to turn their creativity into reality, but it will also help raise awareness, both for them and the community, of the great need in the world for intelligent designers who want to connect with the people who could most benefit from good design.

While teams will have budgets of only $50 for supplies, the organizers said that they expect high quality designs that accommodate its occupants’ needs at both a physical as well as conceptual level.   

The competition will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday when teams begin building their shelters, which must be complete at 5 p.m. 

At 7 p.m. Saturday participants will attend the signature event of the 2014 President’s Fine Arts Series, “Create Like You Give a Damn,” in the Black Box Theater. MSU President Waded Cruzado will moderate a discussion about creativity. Members of the panel include: Sinclair, who previously taught at the MSU School of Architecture; Kelly Matheson, a graduate of MSU’s master’s degree program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking and an attorney, filmmaker and human rights advocate; and Edgar Arceneaux, a contemporary artist who is the co-founder of the Watts House Project, a nonprofit neighborhood redevelopment organization in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Participants in the charrette competition will gather for a social event at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and the shelters will be judged and critiqued. Participants will spend the night in the shelters, and the competition will conclude at 8 a.m. Sunday, March 23.

There is still room for teams of four to five members who would like to participate. Those interested should email, including the names, email addresses and phone numbers of all team members.  Individuals who would like to participate may also sign up to be placed on a team that may need a member.

For more information, contact Jacob deNeui at (406) 871-3115 or email him at


JoDee Palin (406) 994-4406,