Garden in the Machine

Cicero, IL

Unbuilt, concept 2012

Civic, Residential

75,000 sf (Recombinant House)


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Working with a team including Roberta Feldman, Theaster Gates, Greg Lindsay, Kate Orff, Rafi Segal, and other experts on subjects from finance to environmental remediation, Studio Gang developed the Garden in the Machine as a proposal to revitalize the inner-ring suburb of Cicero, Illinois.

Video by Spirit of Space

Cicero, a former factory town, has struggled with the foreclosure of industrial properties and homes. As a result, its largely immigrant population continues to deal with conditions of unemployment, poverty, and environmental degradation.

The Garden in the Machine demonstrates how the remains of Cicero’s industry—its lands, building materials, and rail infrastructure—can be reimagined as healthy, thriving neighborhoods that best suit the needs of residents. Combining technology and natural processes to improve the land, the Garden in the Machine blends housing and jobs within new, flexible live-and-work structures interwoven with public green spaces.

The project proposes updated zoning regulations and a flexible, alternative form of ownership.

In the Garden in the Machine, residents of Cicero are empowered to pursue their own uniquely 21st-century American dreams of health, fulfillment, and prosperity. The Garden in the Machine was developed for the 2012 exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream at the Museum of Modern Art.



New York Times — “Designing a Fix for Housing”

An Op-Ed by Jeanne Gang and Greg Lindsay