|The Garden in the Machine — Foreclosed Open House © Studio Gang|
Matrix of variegated garden spaces increased the heterogeneity of green and generates the buildt space.
Everything we learn about Cicero seemingly opens a dozen new avenues of research to follow, but as with all projects, sooner or later the urge to actually make something wins out over the urge to keep digging. So we have chosen to focus on this question: What does the foreclosed factory have to offer? For Mies and others after the war, the city was tabula rasa for an industrial aesthetic (look no further than MoMA's current 194x-9/11 exhibition). Today, instead of war-torn cities, the remnants of foreclosed factories devastated by the financial crisis are our site for reimagining living. We're exploring how that vacancy might engender a reassemblage of dwelling and working infused with multivalent green spaces.
"The Garden in the Machine" starts from the fundamental suburban desire for green space (i.e. urbanity nestled in nature) and subverts it, asking how the same dream could be fulfilled in the post-industrial landscape of our site: a foreclosed factory nestled between active rail lines. Rather than wiping the slate clean, we're mining the potential of Cicero's existing urban fabric — industrial, residential, and transit — to imagine how these formerly productive spaces might once again lay the framework for a thriving network, one composed of new cottage industries, flexible residences that suit the contemporary population of Cicero, and variegated green space that can be enjoyed by all.
We've reinterpreted the garden space of the suburb from the singular lawn to heterogeneous gathering, productive, recreational, and restorative spaces. Their scale ranges from small (a privative space for meditation), to medium (a playground), to large (a wildlife corridor). These mixtures of garden types are dispersed throughout the site in accordance with proposed densities and their specific roles in forming green infrastructural networks.
By reassembling rather than replacing an industrial structure, and by engaging deeply with Cicero's existing fabric instead of erasing it, we find we're able to develop a richer, more interconnected suburb with the potential to become a dynamic arrival city.
Filmed by J6 Media Works. Photograph by Don Pollard
© 2011 The Museum of Modern Art
Note: Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang released, several months ago, Reveal (Princeton Architecture Press) that you can find here and here.