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lamesadevenn: Part Four

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Site in hand, lamesadevenn began developing a design and program that would be cutting-edge and strikingly original—and of questionable feasibility.

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. Part four: At the Drawing Board…

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  As the bridges were fixed and sewage lines extended at lamesadevenn’s newly purchased Santa Fe site, collaborators from Spain to San Francisco set about creating a design that would capture their own forward-thinking spirit, and also meet the needs of La Mesita, the social profit organization who hoped to set up shop in the building when it was complete. Pictured here: Santiago Buraglia and Christian Alba (background) working on the topographical model at their Valencia, Spain, studio.
    As the bridges were fixed and sewage lines extended at lamesadevenn’s newly purchased Santa Fe site, collaborators from Spain to San Francisco set about creating a design that would capture their own forward-thinking spirit, and also meet the needs of La Mesita, the social profit organization who hoped to set up shop in the building when it was complete. Pictured here: Santiago Buraglia and Christian Alba (background) working on the topographical model at their Valencia, Spain, studio.
  • 
  The primary inspiration for the various Rancho siting strategies came from a previous lamesadevenn project submitted to a national design competition for a cultural center in the heart of Spain’s proud Basque country. For that project, Alba+Buraglia Arquitectura collaborated with Irene Reviriego and Brendan Callahan’s design company, Semigood, to explore siting strategies that successfully integrated the built and natural environments. Shown here are a diagram and rendering from that project, demonstrating how they designed the cultural center to be an extension of the topography—a technique that would prove not only desirable, but also necessary, in the unstable soils of New Mexico.
    The primary inspiration for the various Rancho siting strategies came from a previous lamesadevenn project submitted to a national design competition for a cultural center in the heart of Spain’s proud Basque country. For that project, Alba+Buraglia Arquitectura collaborated with Irene Reviriego and Brendan Callahan’s design company, Semigood, to explore siting strategies that successfully integrated the built and natural environments. Shown here are a diagram and rendering from that project, demonstrating how they designed the cultural center to be an extension of the topography—a technique that would prove not only desirable, but also necessary, in the unstable soils of New Mexico.
  • 
  The vision of a building blended into the landscape sat well with the neighbors, a loose affiliation of sustainability-minded folks who called their small community "La Resolana." As a testament to their environmental commitment the residents all developed their lots in a way that would mitigate human-caused erosion in an effort help the land restore itself.

The rendering presented here, however, proved too good to be true. Feasibility studies by E/CA and Engineering Analytics made it clear that a sunken building would be far too costly—excavating the expansive soils and building the required foundation systems would eat up most of the entire budget. Voices were raised, cell phones slammed, but in the end there was no other option: it was back to the drawing board.
    The vision of a building blended into the landscape sat well with the neighbors, a loose affiliation of sustainability-minded folks who called their small community "La Resolana." As a testament to their environmental commitment the residents all developed their lots in a way that would mitigate human-caused erosion in an effort help the land restore itself. The rendering presented here, however, proved too good to be true. Feasibility studies by E/CA and Engineering Analytics made it clear that a sunken building would be far too costly—excavating the expansive soils and building the required foundation systems would eat up most of the entire budget. Voices were raised, cell phones slammed, but in the end there was no other option: it was back to the drawing board.
  • 
  By late 2010, the site was buildable, and an alternate design had taken shape. This artistic rendition shows how lamesadevenn’s altered design worked with the natural flow of the land, addressing the erosion issue. The boxy shapes are the different “volumes” of the building, which are strategically positioned to modify unhealthy drainage patterns and create restorative bioswales—a landscape design element that helps manage stormwater.
    By late 2010, the site was buildable, and an alternate design had taken shape. This artistic rendition shows how lamesadevenn’s altered design worked with the natural flow of the land, addressing the erosion issue. The boxy shapes are the different “volumes” of the building, which are strategically positioned to modify unhealthy drainage patterns and create restorative bioswales—a landscape design element that helps manage stormwater.
  • 
  Inspired by the design work, Angus Eade, Peter Baker, illustrator Jorge Zavellos and writer Chris Bright set about creating a potential program for the building. In lamesadevenn fashion, they rejected the standard report, instead penning a comic that depicted innovative youth flying in from the country over to attend one of La Mesita’s sustainability institutes.
    Inspired by the design work, Angus Eade, Peter Baker, illustrator Jorge Zavellos and writer Chris Bright set about creating a potential program for the building. In lamesadevenn fashion, they rejected the standard report, instead penning a comic that depicted innovative youth flying in from the country over to attend one of La Mesita’s sustainability institutes.
  • 
  No architectural movement is complete without a lofty manifesto, and Bright and Angus were on the job. They described the potential of the Rancho building: revitalized youth “Frankensteining contraptions” amidst hoots and hollers of encouragement, taunts and "ball court trash talk" channeled into formative collaborations. Specific spaces included state-of-the-art workshops, "tech hangars" and a "war room" mezzanine for strategic planning, brainstorming, free associating, frivolity and hijinks. And down the hall, in residence units, lived the artists and designers and engineers—the “gurus du jour” armed with the space and abundance of adolescent energy to realize their “dreams to change the world for the better.” 

More than a building, the Rancho was a revolution, an architectural challenge to the traditional boundaries between art and science; between work and play.
    No architectural movement is complete without a lofty manifesto, and Bright and Angus were on the job. They described the potential of the Rancho building: revitalized youth “Frankensteining contraptions” amidst hoots and hollers of encouragement, taunts and "ball court trash talk" channeled into formative collaborations. Specific spaces included state-of-the-art workshops, "tech hangars" and a "war room" mezzanine for strategic planning, brainstorming, free associating, frivolity and hijinks. And down the hall, in residence units, lived the artists and designers and engineers—the “gurus du jour” armed with the space and abundance of adolescent energy to realize their “dreams to change the world for the better.” More than a building, the Rancho was a revolution, an architectural challenge to the traditional boundaries between art and science; between work and play.
  • 
  Santa Fe attorney Todd Lopez took the manifesto to heart. Tossing aside his briefcase and ballpoints, he and Alba hare-brained a scheme that could fund La Mesita—his educational non-profit, currently stalled for lack of funding—and help prevent the world from overheating in the process. They called it "Viticrete," a new type of concrete mix that leaves a minuscule carbon footprint compared to traditional cement mixes, which contribute to more than 5% of total Co2 emissions globally. Alba and Lopez found themselves stepping away from their daily jobs to delve into pure science: here, the attorney stands baffled at the mixing table in CA2 Testing, a concrete mix design laboratory in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
    Santa Fe attorney Todd Lopez took the manifesto to heart. Tossing aside his briefcase and ballpoints, he and Alba hare-brained a scheme that could fund La Mesita—his educational non-profit, currently stalled for lack of funding—and help prevent the world from overheating in the process. They called it "Viticrete," a new type of concrete mix that leaves a minuscule carbon footprint compared to traditional cement mixes, which contribute to more than 5% of total Co2 emissions globally. Alba and Lopez found themselves stepping away from their daily jobs to delve into pure science: here, the attorney stands baffled at the mixing table in CA2 Testing, a concrete mix design laboratory in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
  • 
  Back at the Rancho, Alba, Eade and Baker began establishing the program of the building. The old tradition of sitting down for coffee with the “clients” (in this case, the neighborhood and La Mesita) didn’t quite fit the bill—not for a project like this. Instead, they chose to innovate a crowd-sourcing model that could bring together everyone’s interests, function as a generative tool during the design process, and provoke some healthy discourse.Next: sourcing the crowd, lamesadevenn style.Click here to follow the lamesadevenn story from the beginning.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Back at the Rancho, Alba, Eade and Baker began establishing the program of the building. The old tradition of sitting down for coffee with the “clients” (in this case, the neighborhood and La Mesita) didn’t quite fit the bill—not for a project like this. Instead, they chose to innovate a crowd-sourcing model that could bring together everyone’s interests, function as a generative tool during the design process, and provoke some healthy discourse.Next: sourcing the crowd, lamesadevenn style.Click here to follow the lamesadevenn story from the beginning.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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