written by:
illustrated by:
October 6, 2011

A joyous moment: The site that Alba and Lopez discovered, on the developing southside of Santa Fe, offered the space, the views, and a promising pack of neighbors. The land also came with a well, utility lines, an access drive and very liberal building covenants. If lamesadevenn had as much money as it did ideas, they would’ve bought the place on the spot.

In this series, trace the evolution of lamesadevenn, an international collaborative of architects, product designers and communication specialists who are redefining how and why we design. They’ve brought in journalist Seth Biderman and illustrator Nacho Durá to chronicle their “living projects,” like the Rancho—a live/work space designed to foster community and sustainable values in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The project’s birth and site selection are chronicled in Part 1: A Vision is Born and Part 2: The Sweet Spot. Financing their project was the next hurdle, described here in Part 3: Spare Change?

Alba estimated the collaborative would need around $370,000 to purchase the land and frame out the building. Pre-2008, loan officers would’ve been knocking each over other to offer him the money, but the housing crisis had changed the picture dramatically
Alba estimated the collaborative would need around $370,000 to purchase the land and frame out the building. Pre-2008, loan officers would’ve been knocking each over other to offer him the money, but the housing crisis had changed the picture dramatically.
2 / 7
Enter Los Alamos National Bank. Yes, the same Los Alamos where America’s best scientists were secreted away in the 1940s to create the world’s deadliest weapon. The war ended, but the scientists stuck around. One of them, George Cowan, applied his smarts
Enter Los Alamos National Bank. Yes, the same Los Alamos where America’s best scientists were secreted away in the 1940s to create the world’s deadliest weapon. The war ended, but the scientists stuck around. One of them, George Cowan, applied his smarts to the financial system, and in the early 1960’s opened one of the most innovative and successful banks in New Mexico. It’s also one of the most generous, and has provided key funding for community groups and schools. When lamesadevenn knocked on the door with its big plans and restrictive budget, they welcomed him with open arms.
3 / 7
Impressed by the lamedsadevenn vision, Los Alamos National Bank agreed to put up enough money to enable Alba to purchase the land and start building. When last minute negotiations drove the price up a few thousand, Alba called out for help. Jeremy Eichler
Impressed by the lamedsadevenn vision, Los Alamos National Bank agreed to put up enough money to enable Alba to purchase the land and start building. When last minute negotiations drove the price up a few thousand, Alba called out for help. Jeremy Eichler, an artist, gallery owner and financial whiz who’d been in on lamesadevenn from the beginning knew where to turn: his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Eichler. They'd recently sold off their renowned dental practice in D.C. and were in France, looking around for worthy projects to help out. The couple was intrigued by lamesadevenn’s youthful energy and commitment to collaboration, and offered to lend a hand. There was no time to waste: Alba caught the next plane to Paris to sign a personal loan agreement, while Lopez assumed power-of-attorney and took care of the purchase docs in Santa Fe. Within 24 hours, Alba had assumed more debt that he’d accumulated in a lifetime—for better or worse, lamesadevenn’s Rancho project was finally on the books.
4 / 7
In San Francisco, the collaborative convened to celebrate and flush out the Rancho vision. Designer Brendan Callahan, strategist Chris Bright, and architects Ann Minh, Angus Eade and Alba decided they would push the envelop: the new building would embody
In San Francisco, the collaborative convened to celebrate and flush out the Rancho vision. Designer Brendan Callahan, strategist Chris Bright, and architects Ann Minh, Angus Eade and Alba decided they would push the envelop: the new building would embody the community values of the local non-profit La Mesita while simultaneously reaching out to the immediate neighbors. From Spain, architect Santiago Buraglia listened in, and then began mining some of the award-winning work he and Alba had generated at their firm—like this highly-acclaimed contest design for a cultural center in Spain’s Basque country.Illustration by Alba.Buraglia Arquitectura
5 / 7
The euphoria faded quickly. As Eade and Alba got to work preparing the site for construction, they were met with some unexpected expenses.<br /><br />
<p>• $10K to excavate expansive soils and replace with engineered fill (plus another chunk of change to
The euphoria faded quickly. As Eade and Alba got to work preparing the site for construction, they were met with some unexpected expenses.

• $10K to excavate expansive soils and replace with engineered fill (plus another chunk of change to replace an unregistered water main that the Utility company broke in the process of installing it’s gas line).

• $2K to extend utility lines.

• $20K quote by the municipal authorities for a legitimate sewage extension.

• $5K to widen an access bridge, by order of the fire marshal.

• $10K to make sure they complied by a new county ordinance for water harvesting.

Three months after the loan had been signed, lamesadevenn’s “living project” was behind schedule and over budget, and the first footers had yet to be poured.

6 / 7
But dreams die hard. The collaborative regrouped and pushed forward, and hoped for the best. <br /><br />Next installment: Breaking the Forms.<br /><br />Click <a href="http://www.dwell.com/articles/lamesadevenn-from-start-to-finish.html">here</a> to foll
But dreams die hard. The collaborative regrouped and pushed forward, and hoped for the best. Next installment: Breaking the Forms.Click here to follow the lamesadevenn story from the beginning.
7 / 7
1 the place B

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016