location: Philadelphia, PA.
client: Princeton Architectural Press/Johanna Dickson.
affiliation with: Mark Gardner & Henry Hsu.
status: published 2002.
Pamphlet Architecture #23, by Johanna Dickson, included a charrette at the offices of the publisher. A group of designers was invited to contribute speculative designs based on the author’s thesis that architecture can serve to alleviate traumatic experiences. The site was a Philadelphia neighborhood where in 1985 the police staged a raid on a militaristic cult called ‘MOVE,’ resulting in several deaths and destruction of the neighborhood by a fire which was allowed to burn for days. With designers Mark Gardner and Henry Hsu, “Prosthesis” was a reaction to the shoddy reconstruction effort which left residents with poorly constructed homes and robbed them of front porches and stoops. although these had been vital community spaces, because they had been fortified and used as bunkers by the move members, the authorities deemed them too dangerous to restore. Knocking down and re-replacing these houses serves only to compound the trauma; prosthetic interventions are offered as temporary solutions to revive patterns of civic activity and to instigate organic redevelopment over a longer time period. Photos and sketches by Brian Slocum. Collages by Mark Gardner. Model by “Prosthesis” team.