• prototype 180
    Mary Ellen Carroll
    Domenick Ammirati
    David Joselit, Judith Kirshner, and Lars Lerup
    Mary Ellen Carroll

Mary Ellen Carroll, prototype 180. Photo: Kenny Trice. Courtesy of the artist.

prototype 180 is an urban alteration that engages a radical form of retrofitting through the physical rotation and reoccupation of a single-family home in the aging, first-ring subdivision of Sharpstown in Houston, Texas. In conception and planning for over ten years, the project is temporally, physically, and conceptually organized around its catalytic rotational transformation. While the rotation and relocation of the house on its lot interrupts the relation of the house to its context—and to existing street typologies—the 180 degree spin also signals the future life of the house as an institute, which will serve as a model/laboratory capable of studying its own materiality and architectural program. prototype 180 strategically intersects conceptual art projects, social activism, urban legislation, and economic processes. Its 180 degree reorientation registers aesthetically against a history of critical house alterations and administratively in relation to Houston's unregulated land-use policies and absence of zoning laws.

Mary Ellen Carroll's prolific career spans more than twenty years and a range of practices, from art and architecture to performance and film. Carroll is the recipient of numerous grants and honors, including most recently a 2010 Graham Foundation grant for prototype 180 and innovation territory and the AIA's Artist of the Year Award. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollack/Krasner Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at numerous American and international galleries, including the Whitney Museum, New York; ICA, Philadelphia; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; ICA, London; the Museum fur Völkerkunde, Munich; and MOMUK, Vienna. Her work belongs to numerous public and private collections. A monograph was published by SteidlMACK (London and Gottingen) and received the AIGA's Book of the Year Award in 2010. Carroll taught in the Architecture School at Rice University. prototype 180 was an exhibition at Columbia's GSAPP and was included in the exhibition Counter Production at the Generali Foundation in Vienna. The journal Afterall featured prototype 180 and it will be in an exhibition at Stadtpark in Krems, Austria in June of 2014.