Squatter architecture has been somewhat glamorized lately, with the Occupy movement spawning a series of highly publicized DIY settlements and the increased adoration of pop-up pavilions as emblems of an alternative built environment. But for the squatters at Slab City, mobile architecture is not a statement of revolution but a way of life. Taking its name from the concrete slabs left over from what was once a Marine base, Slab City has become a permanent Hooverville in Southern California, a haven for the homeless, a site for general off-the-grid living, and a place steeped in myth.
Here, refugees of the recession and assailers of the system find food, shelter and company, along with the occasional acrylic paint art installation, living modestly in unforgiving climates with the assistance of government checks, electricity generators, and a scant stash of goods from the nearest town three miles away. Photographer Eric Thayer recently made a trip to Slab City, and his photos reveal a city of authentically ad hoc architectures assembled into a provocative portrait of fringe living.
Slab City's very own internet cafe.
Slab City golf course.
[All photos via]