March 8, 2023 655 PM
I want to thank everyone who made the event in Polvo a wonderful experience.
Special thanks to Becky and Jesus Sanchez for cooking a wonderful meal along with their family who helped. I want to thank our speakers, David Keller, Oscar Rodriguez, Celina Acosta, Gabriel Acosta, Xoxi Nayapiltzin. They did an awesome job with their presentation. I was told there were a few tears when Celina Acosta gave her powerful talk. Thanks also to Roberto Lujan who traveled from Austin, Texas, and David Duke for El Polvo.
Next person I want to thank is Bill Acosta, Roberto Lujan and primo Gabriel Lujan for setting up our event and ceremony. Thank you, primo Oscar Hinojos and Dan Quintana for setting up the donation of the bottled water. Also, Jonathan VanCoops for the donation of books for the speakers and Vanessa Lopez for providing seeds for the people of Redford. Finally, I want to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the event.
To the Marfa community:
My name is Liz Lambert. For those who don’t know me, I am the owner of El Cosmico and a member of the McKnight family which has been ranching in West Texas for several generations. I’m writing to you today to tell you about a project that I have been dreaming of for a long time and am working to make a reality. While the project is still in its conceptual phase, and many elements are far from being finalized, I want you to hear about it from me first rather than through rumor and speculation. I value this community deeply and have always cared about contributing to a thriving economy and culture here.
I am working with two visionary partners, Bjarke Ingels Group and ICON, on realizing a dream that brings together our shared love of purposeful and beautiful design, community, sustainability and the arts. Our plan is to relocate El Cosmico to a 60-acre tract of land outside of town and to add accommodations, residential homes and infrastructure like a pool, bathhouse, art workshop space, and restaurant facing the Davis Mountains.
To give you some background on the partners on this project:
BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is a Copenhagen, New York, London and Barcelona based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes, focusing on the fertile overlap between the pragmatic and the utopian.
ICON develops advanced construction technologies that advance humanity. Using proprietary 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials, ICON is shifting the paradigm of homebuilding on earth and beyond. ICON continues to set new standards for delivering innovative, resilient, dand dignified housing and structures through automated construction technologies.
To date, we have land under contract north of town that is not connected to city resources. We are working with a civil engineer who lives in the region to develop a plan for well water and a septic system. We are looking at all possible options for baking sustainability into the design and construction. At the same time, we are actively fundraising the capital needed to bring this dream to life. In order to do that, we are starting to talk with lenders and other stakeholders in the project. I would not normally talk publicly about a project at this early stage, as many of the specifics are evolving as with any construction projects. That said, it is important to me that we be as transparent as possible with our neighbors in the community. While I cannot promise that every hope we have for the project will come true, I would like to share the vision we are working toward and hope to be able to achieve.
Part of our vision is to develop the existing El Cosmico property into affordable housing designed by BIG and 3D printed by ICON. While we know that the city of Marfa doesn’t have a hard and fast guideline for what constitutes affordability, we know that there is a demand for long-term housing. Additionally, we would build long-term housing for staff at El Cosmico as our needs grow. Similarly, we plan to offer a hospitality training program open to local applicants regardless of their desire to work at El Cosmico. When we have done these programs elsewhere in the past, the feedback has been that the investment in vocational training benefits the community at large and offers opportunities for those interested in starting or opening a business in hospitality.
In my experience, there will always be some who are set against change in their communities. I imagine that will be the case here to some extent. My hope is that I have shown my commitment to Marfa through the way I have operated El Cosmico over the past 13 years. We will continue to contribute to the economy of the town through hotel occupancy taxes, job creation and the halo effect for other local businesses that tourism creates. We will also continue to make El Cosmico a place for locals and visitors alike, be it through discounted access to cultural events, community swim days or other programming.
I believe that the work we are doing with BIG and ICON is part of a larger movement to revolutionize the construction industry to be more sustainable, equitable and beautiful. I am honored to work with these partners, and proud to do this work in a city I love so dearly.