(Photo credit: Laura Migliorino, “La Abuela” from the series “Occidente Nuevo – Recycled Tijauna”)

One of the strangest sights in Tijuana is a row of vintage California bungalows resting atop a hollow one-story steel frame. Once destined for demolition across the border, they were loaded on trucks and brought south by developers who have sold them to local residents.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, Shantytowns as the New Suburban Ideal

It sounds absurd at first and a little sad – and then the brilliance hits. As Ouroussoff’s article elaborates, this is architecture with a sound environmental and community impact. Not born of idealism but of pragmatism. Photographer Laura Migliorino was taken by this construct of a new west from the pieces of the old.

Migliorino writes:

La Abuela is from the series Occidente Nuevo- Recycled Tijuana. The series plays off of Robert Adams’ famous series “The New West”, a stunning photo essay about the suburbs in the western United States. The irony of the work is that the new west is created from the debris of the old west.

My initial interest in suburbia is the impact of sprawl, the creation of more garbage, less space to put it and consumerism in general. The suburbs of Tijuana, highlight the positive aspects of a new way of developing suburbia through re-use. The photographs of families put a human face on the recycled homes and challenge the myths of suburbia.

See more of Laura’s work at www.lauramigliorinoart.com