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 Rand Ewers, architect/builder, whose father Rolo and family had been building with volcanic material called Scoria, 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 via ownership.
Fundamental LAVA quality and consistency objectives were achieved in 2006. The following 5 years focused mostly upon cost reduction techniques to suit the post-2008 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. The University of Arizona College of Architecture was specifically chosen for its unusually high innovation oriented teaching staff. Upon graduation personal design interest focused upon 2 ecological design tracks; 1) Production Geodesic Design and Architecture, and 2) An emerging Modern-Adobe technology using Volcanic Cinder or Scoria.
In the mid-80s, Paul, Prof. Al Miller and 2 others founded World Geodesics Co. Al Miller was a co-conspirator of R. Buckminster Fuller developing architectural geodesics in early 80s. R. B. Fuller was a World Geodesics founding investor and advisor. For Paul, better than the visionary teachings of R. B. Fuller, were the combined teachings of R. B. Fuller as seen through the pragmatic mind of Al Miller. This started a career-long direction of Fuller's philosophy "doing more with less". Today, it's called "Sustainability."
Simultaneously, along with class-mate Architect, Rand Ewers, Paul began exploring the potential of Volcanic Scoria as a building material with personal interest in developing the equipment to transition to mainstream.
The combined design philosophies 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 recognized building product formulated to respond to health and environmental concerns, as well as the financial restraints effecting architecture for the next millennium.