Launch Slideshow

baja fresh

a handmade haven on the mexican coast.

baja fresh

a handmade haven on the mexican coast.

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    Gerardo Grazia

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    Gerardo Grazia

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    Gerardo Grazia

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    Gerardo Grazia

    Siegal and her fellow co-owners have expanded and revamped their trailer over the years. “It’s a place to go and hang out and relax, but it’s also a place to play out our fantasies of architectural projects,” she says.

Off-the-grid living is the one and only option at this improvised vacation home in Baja California, Mexico. Co-owned by Venice, Calif.-based prefab designer Jennifer Siegal and several friends, the 800-square-foot home is part of a utility-free trailer park that sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. Fresh water, propane, and firewood are trucked in and sold to residents.

Siegal and her friends, many of whom attended SCI–Arc with her, have gradually gutted and remodeled the home over the past decade. In doing so, they've limited themselves to using found objects and materials from the immediate area. They've also rigged up a gravity-fed water system. Even their Baja eating habits have a local, do-it-yourself spin: they often feast on grilled fish they caught that day.

The community's cobbled-together nature initially drew them in, along with the beach's alluring proximity. “There are at least 40 little compounds, and all of them are artistic,” Siegal says, comparing the trailer park's resourceful, ad hoc mentality to the ideas expressed in Bernard Rudofsky's classic book Architecture Without Architects. “They're all intellectually designed installations. They're all funky.”