The LAVA company was founded by Paul Schwam, Architect/builder. LAVA's objective was to develop the technology needed to allow volcanic materials to become a mainstream building solution. It grew out of an association with Randall Ewers, architect/builder, whose father Rolo and family had been building with volcanic material called Scoria, but in a boutique fashion, in New Mexico.
LAVA equipment and techniques matured, at a measured pace, over 30 years. Over 25 homes and structures were completed beginning in the mid to late 90's. A careful building pace was followed to allow for machine and technique testing, refining engineering, detailing and process.
The development of LAVA is due, in part, to the many other architects, builders, tradesman and owners who have added value along the way with design challenges, experience and contribution by way of ownership.
The LAVA quality and consistancy objectives were achieved in 2006. The following 5 years focused mostly upon cost reduction tecnhniques to suit the economy. Today, LAVA is accepted and competitive in greater Arizona. It will continue to refine itself as volumes increase and development shifts toward architectural innovation rather than equipment design.
Paul Schwam started architecture with a life-long enthusiasm for innovation. At the University of Arizona, and under the teachings of a handful of like-minded professors, especially Al Miller, the practice of design innovation was highly supported. At the time it was focused upon conventional Architecture. Upon graduation innovation interests turned toward Scoria and geodesics.
Al Miller, Paul Schwam and 2 others founded World Geodesics Co. in early 80s. R.Buckminster Fuller was an advisor and investor. Better than the visionary teachings of R. B. Fuller are the teachings of R. B. Fuller as seen through the pragmatic mind of Al Miller. This started a career-long direction of Fuller's "doing more with less" and, one that's well grounded for everyday usefulness. Today, it's called "sustainability."
This combined design philosophy began to benefit the volcanic architecture efforts in the mid 90s. The relationships and experiences over the next 25 years brought LAVA to the point it is now: a mainstream building material deliberately formulated to better respond to the health and environmental concerns of the time, to the financial restraints of the time, to the natural resource opportunities of the time.