July 2013 Newsletter

Summer Greetings!

According to the calendar, we are less than one month into summer. As temperatures rise, remember the ways that Miller Blueprint can help you beat the heat and stay inside:

  • Send files to print electronically versus walking in with your USB thumb drive
  • Allow us to pick up and deliver your job for a reasonable fee, (usually just $5)
  • Make arrangements to get one of our new HP printers discussed below, allowing you prints from the comfort and convenience of your office.

As always, please send comments or ways we might improve our service to you via email or phone. Thanks for your continued patronage!

Luci Miller
direct: 512.381.5266

Architecture for the Aging: A Giant and Wealthy Market with Special Needs

When you think of senior housing, you probably think of drab high rises designed for fixed-income oldsters who need a safe place to wait out the reaper. But that image is painfully outdated – many of today’s seniors live longer and have the financial wherewithal to demand architecture that truly meets their needs. Some architects are taking notice.

Data show that 54 million Americans over the age of 55 hope to grow old in their homes. Most homes, however, were built with just the first user in mind, and often that design didn’t take into account the aging of the user.

“We have a responsibility to train the next generation of architects to think about accessibility and housing flexibility,” says Georgeen Theodore, associate professor and director of the Infrastructure Planning Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, in an article in Atlantic Cities, http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/01/how-build-eldertopia/4514/. “It shouldn’t just be a niche market for older adults, but part of the larger project of housing.”

One of the ideas Theodore’s group devised is a house that a couple could occupy half of when first married, then expand into the rest of as they develop a family. Then, when the children leave and the couple ages, they could shrink their living space back into just half the house, leaving the rest for another couple.

Another such program exists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where students and faculty are looking at how society can accommodate its aging population gracefully.

“New Aging is an initiative to unleash creativity and bring together thinkers and doers who will create a call for action to provide better living circumstances for our aging community. The conference leads the way by addressing aging by focusing on progressive advances in architecture, city planning, and culture,” according to the program’s website, http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662258/can-architecture-help-the-elderly-age-gracefully

One of the University of Pennsylvania professors involved in the program, Matthias Hollwich, stresses that architects should envision how THEY would like to live when they become older. Hollwich hopes to envision an ideal senior city, a Geropolis.

The American Institute of Architects has also acknowledged this situation. The AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community helps member architects create a built environment that serves the needs of seniors. The group’s motto is:

“The mission of the AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community (DFA) is to foster design innovation and disseminate knowledge necessary to enhance the built environment and quality of life for an aging society. This includes relevant research on characteristics, planning, and costs associated with innovative design for aging. In addition, DFA provides outcome data on the value of these design solutions and environments. “

Visit http://network.aia.org/designforaging/home/ for more information.

Designing homes for seniors is not just a matter of creating ADA-accessible highrises anymore – it’s the creation of living spaces that allow seniors to maintain independence and go gracefully into their later years.

Crowdsourced Architecture: Many Designing for One

You’ve probably heard of crowdsourcing, the practice of inviting the public to participate in some kind of project, usually online. But did you know that architecture can be crowdsourced?

Actually, design competitions are a form of crowdsourcing, and those have been around forever. Whenever a group of designers each tries to design something, or contribute to the design, as in a competition, crowdsourcing happens.

But architecture also has an online crowdsourcing option. Arcbazar http://www.arcbazar.com/, founded in 2010, is an online architecture competition site. Individuals seeking designs for projects upload basic info for the project, and designers compete to create a winning design.

The top three designs, as selected by the individual seeking the design, share in a monetary award, generally in the hundreds of dollars. According to the site, an average of nine designs are submitted for each competition.

Designers are not charged to participate in a competition, and anyone can join the fray, not just registered architects.

Crowdsourcing in architecture is not just about design competition, though. Wikipedia is a crowdsourced reference work, since millions of individuals can add information on any topic – OpenBuildings http://openbuildings.com/ is architecture’s version of Wikipedia.

OpenBuildings is similar to Wikipedia in that it contains volumes of information submitted by the public; the key difference is that it’s entirely about architecture.

OpenBuildings is addictive. Type in the name of a building you’re interested in and you’ll get a blast of information, including the basics of the project, a narrative description, photos, a map, and more. Researching buildings has never been easier!


HP introduces innovative new T920 and T1500 ePrinters for the AEC Market


HP T920 and T1500 ePrinters are completely new printers designed from a blank slate specifically for AEC professionals. The design, features and capabilities of these printers are based upon HP’s observations of their equipment in actual AEC customer environments. Customers were asked to create their own “ideal printer” mockups from parts provided by HP.  This customer-centric approach resulted in value added printers with 30% smaller footprints, front roll loading, six original HP color and black inks, adjustable touchscreen, USB print direct and an output stacking tray that delivers high quality prints flat and collated.

Mobility is increasing, and HP’s ePrint & Share technologies ensures that when your firm is ready to remotely print from desktops and mobile devices, the HP T920 and T1500 ePrinters will be too. To download a brochure or view a video visit Miller Blueprint’s website.  For a product demonstration, contact Steve Coyle at 512.716.5058.


Tips & Tricks: Multiple Page PDF Import

Have you ever needed to place multiple pages of the same PDF in an InDesign document?  Have you found yourself separating the PDF into individual files so you can import them?  Here’s a time-saving tip that will eliminate this hassle.

In the Place dialogue box, select Show Import Options near the bottom left side. Once you click Open, the Import Options dialogue box will appear.  You can choose to place a certain page, a range of pages, or all of the pages. Back in the document, each click of the mouse will place a page you selected from the PDF. With this simple shortcut, the days of separating individual pages are behind you!

Being Green

CyberRain is a landscape water-control system that takes into account sun exposure, slope, and other factors to minimize water usage: http://www.cyber-rain.com/

Pioneer Millworks provides reclaimed hardwoods, including American Chestnut, which is no longer available as fresh-cut wood: http://pioneermillworks.com/

The CarbonCure concrete block process removes carbon, makes stronger blocks: http://carboncure.com/

The Cree Streetlight is built from the ground up as a super-efficient LED streetlight: http://www.cree.com/lighting/products/outdoor/streetlights/xsp-series-streetlight

Landscape Forms creates public furniture from FSC-certified wood products: http://www.landscapeforms.com/en-US/Pages/default.aspx

Top Five Highest Paid Construction-Related Trades and Median Wage

(according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)

5. Boilermakers: $54,640

4. Electrical Powerline Installers and Repairers: $58,030

3. First-line Supervisors of Construction Trades: $58,680

2. Elevator Installers and Repairers: $70,910

1. Construction Manager: $83,860


Amazing Architecture – Green Edition

The Bronx Library, designed by Dattner Architects, is a LEED Silver-certified building that features a glass curtainwall: http://www.lehman.edu/vpadvance/artgallery/arch/buildings/BronxLibraryC.html

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility, designed by Belay Architecture, is LEED Gold certified: http://www.tciaec.com/projects/ft-lewis-tactical-equipment-maintenance-facilities.html

The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, uses 34 percent less water than similar hotels. The Platinum LEED building was designed by Centrepoint Architecture: http://www.proximityhotel.com/tour.htm

The Nationals Major League team plays in a ballpark that is LEED Silver certified: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/080401hok.asp


News You Can Use

Page Southerland Page Wins UT Med School Competition:  http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/real-estate/2013/07/page-southerland-page-wins-ut-med.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2013-07-03&u=qhWE8PiuSo2+o9FpaWnLqwXadmC&t=1373053613

New UT Hospital Building Design Approved:  http://austin.culturemap.com/news/innovation/06-18-13-construction-of-uts-state-of-the-art-teaching-hospital-approved-project-architect-announced/

Plan to Bury I-35 Getting Traction: http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2013/06/burying-i-35-ut-architects-plan-gains-traction/

Swinerton Austin Office to Oversee Major Project: http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/real-estate/2013/06/swinertons-austin-office-to-oversee.html

EVStudio Expanding Into Austin and Dallas: http://kdhnews.com/business/local/cove-architecture-firm-continues-growth-with-planned-expansion/article_006871d4-d574-11e2-a665-0019bb30f31a.html

AIA Billings Index Rebounds In May: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB099230