August 2013 Newsletter


Do you know a college student headed back to school soon?  As a way to send them off with memories in their back pockets (or on their dorm or apartment walls), consider having a digital file printed as a repositionable adhesive wall graphic. They stick to the wall and pull off for future reuse without damaging paint.

Check out our coupon below for special savings on these printing services. They also make great reminders of a favorite vacation or family photo for your office wall. A casual twist on a fun image is always worth a small fee!

Anyway, as summer winds down and temperatures tune up, we wish you safety, prosperity and patience.


Luci Miller
direct: 512.381.5266

The Floating Hotel and Other Architecture for a Hot Planet

Urban Flooding

Some people may quibble about who caused global warming or what its ultimate effects will be, but those who live in coastal areas are not waiting for the issue to be settled. Many of them see the water rising every year and realize that their homes are in jeopardy. Fortunately, some architects are turning their attention to the problem.

Consider the firm Waterstudio.NL, based in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a particular concern about rising water, as it’s practically entirely built on land that was previously ocean. Waterstudio.NL focuses its practice on water-related projects.

One of Waterstudio.NL’s latest projects is in the island nation of Maldives. The government of Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, once held a cabinet meeting underwater to emphasize the risk the country faces from rising ocean water (after all, the entire country is only six feet above sea level). Now the country has turned to Waterstudio.NL to create a floating hotel. The Greenstar Hotel will feature 800 rooms and is designed to be a location for conferences about climate change and water management, appropriately.

The problem of rising concerns Americans, too, since we have over 12,000 miles of coastline. For an interesting visual image of how the rising oceans will affect U.S. coastlines, check out the Nation Under Siege website, The site shows computer-generated images of how various cities, such as Miami and San Francisco, would look if the oceans rose by just one meter (and up). The images are frightening – entire neighborhoods become giant swimming pools.

So how are architects in at-risk U.S. cities responding? One response was an event called Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront. This project, co-sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Center, invited five architects to envision how the coastline of New York and New Jersey could be changed to adapt to rising waters. The project resulted in a 2010 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

“We wanted the exhibition to jump-start a dialogue on the urgency of climate change and rising sea levels among public officials, policy-makers, and the general public,” wrote Barry Bergdoll, the museum’s curator of architecture and design, in the project’s blog. Read more about this project here:

A more recent U.S. project exploring the issue was conducted by architecture students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang designed an elaborate lattice that could be laid around threatened urban areas. The lattice supposedly would help absorb floodwater, kind of like a manmade marsh. Read more here:

Expect to hear much more about how architecture will help the world deal with rising waters in the years to come.

More Construction Blunders

ConstructionNews about construction blunders is always popular. People just love to read about the mistakes of others! Here are a few recent stories of construction projects gone bad.

Before You Tear it Down, Check the Address

You get the demolition order, you assemble your crew, you drive to the location….and you check the address, right? A demolition company in Fort Worth, Texas forgot that last step. David Underwood, who owned a house on the shore of Lake Worth, went to the property to mow the lawn one Saturday in July and discovered that just a slab remained! It turns out the house next door was condemned and slated for demolition, but the wrecking crew tore down Underwood’s lake home instead! Read the details here:

Centimeters Matter

Everyone knows that carpenters are supposed to measure twice and cut once, right? Well, evidently not. The builders constructing some affordable housing Perth, UK, had framed out the 4.7 million pound ($7.1 million) project, and then stopped work. A city councilor driving past the site wondered why work had stopped and finally asked senior management. Their response? The building was 15 centimeters away from where it was supposed to be, and about 50 centimeters too tall, so they stopped work to figure out their next move. The local authorities were aghast, of course, but in the end the project was delayed just a couple of weeks so the paperwork could be changed. Read more here:

Once you make an embarrassing error in measurement, you should be careful not to repeat it. Britannia Construction in Cambridgeshire, England apparently didn’t think so – they had to dismantle a movie theater they built 75 centimeters out of place, and then rebuilt it 30 centimeters off in the opposite direction! Read more here:

$71 million Design Error

The most costly error in this report of construction blunders is owned by contractors building a pontoon bridge in Washington state. The floating bridge, which crosses Lake Washington, is designed to last 75 years. But a design error has led to cracks in four of the pontoons, which will be fixed by having epoxy injected into them and new tensioning and fiber wrap added. The total cost of the project, including the cost of putting the pontoons into drydock, is $71 million. Read details here:

Canon offers 0% finance on select Canon Ink Jet Printing Systems


Now is the time to migrate to color and a Canon ink jet printing system.

Until September 27, 2013 you can finance select Canon ink jet printing systems for 36 months at 0%.

Research shows that color drawings significantly reduces waste in all phases of a design bid build construction project.  So, why continue to just print in black and white?  Add color to your design construction plans and begin to experience the incredible value added benefits and return on investment your Canon ink jet printing system will provide you and your firm.  For a free consultation and 0% finance quote contact Steve Coyle at 512.716.5058 or   To learn more about Canon Ink Jet Printing Systems visit the Miller Blueprint website

Tips and Tricks: Understanding Bleeds & Print-Safe Areas

When creating printed pieces, we often rely on precise measurements to achieve the look we want.  We purchase a specific size of paper, design down to the hundredth of an inch, and send to the printer expecting perfection.  What we often fail to realize is that the very materials and machines we’re using (not to mention the humans operating those machines) all contain imperfections and potential for inconsistency.  So how do you avoid the headache of unpredictable printing results?  Utilize bleeds and print-safe areas.


Bleed Areas


Bleed Areas extend beyond the edges of your document, allowing room for error during the trimming process.  If you want the appearance of images that are printed to the edge of the paper, you would utilize the bleed area to continue the image beyond the actual edge.  Then when the document is trimmed down to a precise size, a full-bleed look is achieved.  The standard size bleed is 1/8 inch on all sides.


Print-Safe Areas

Whereas the Bleed Area extends 1/8 inch beyond the edge of the document, Print-Safe Areas extend 1/8 inch inside the edge of the document.   It is advisable to keep all essential text and parts of the image inside the Print-Safe Area to ensure they are not cut off during trimming.  Additionally, if the desire is to achieve a consistently-sized white border around the finished document, it is best to increase the Print-Safe Area to ¼ inch inside the document’s edge.

Print-Safe Areas for Bound Documents

If the finished piece is intended to be bound, it is also important to leave extra space on the binding-side edge of the document.  For the most common binding types (coil, wire, comb), we recommend leaving a 1/2” Print-Safe Area on the binding-side edge.

As with any print job, it is best to consult your printer before you design the document.  For more information about how to setup your document for optimal printing results, contact our printing specialists at

Amazing Architecture: Government Buildings

Government has long been on the forefront of grand buildings, and that’s still true. Check out these examples:

Vidor, Texas, Administration Building:

Douglas County Government  Center (Superior, Wisconsin):

Saco, Maine, Fire Station:

Municipal Technical Center, Val-de-Reuil, France:

Being Green: Paint Edition

Yolo Colorhouse calls itself “The Environmentally Responsible Paint Company”:

C2 LoVo paint comes in 496 colors:

Natura No-VOC Paint from Benjamin Moore is 100 percent acrylic and virtually odorless:

The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company uses biodegradable components to produce paint that contains no harmful materials:

Green Planet Paints are plant-based and zero VOC:

ArchiList:  5 Old LEED Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council started the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 1998, but some LEED buildings are much older. Here are five:

1. The oldest LEED building in the world is a Venetian Gothic palazzo built in 1453. The building, Sede Centrale, is headquarters for Ca Foscari University of Venice, and earned LEED certification in 2013.

2. Pavilion IX, designed by Thomas Jefferson and built in 1821, was renovated to LEED guidelines in 2011 and houses the office of the dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia.

3. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lowell, Massachusetts, was built in 1839, and was renovated to LEED specs in 2006 by the United Teen Equality Center.

4. The U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., built in 1842, is now LEED Gold certified, saving taxpayers $3.5 million per year in energy, water, and leasing costs.

5. The New York State Executive Mansion in Albany has been the official residence of New York governors since 1875, and is now a LEED Gold building.

For more, click here:,

 News You Can Use

“Cut and Cap” Proposed for I-35:

Travis County Court Building Proposals Sought:

Urban Rail Proposed for Downtown Austin:

Environmental Design Part of New Austin H-E-B Store:

Exhibit on Capital Construction and Renovation Opens:

Back-to-School Special

August CouponMention this ad to receive discount, or click here for printable version.