May 2014 Newsletter

Hello, Friends!

As we look to Memorial Day as the sign that summer has begun, I ask each of us to think about Memorial Day and what it represents. It is a holiday to honor and remember those service men and women who have lost their lives while fighting for our country and for the freedoms and rights that we so easily take for granted. I thank each person who has served our country, as well as their families.

With respect and appreciation for each you of you reading today,

Luci Miller

Future of Healthcare Construction: New Emergency Room Based on Evidence-Based Design


Healthcare based on the latest research – commonly called “evidence-based” healthcare – is spreading through that field. It’s no surprise then that the idea has spread to healthcare architecture. A new emergency medical building in Dallas exemplifies this trend.

The Legacy ER, a for-profit, freestanding medical building, was designed by Yen Ong, a partner at Dallas’ 5G Studio Collaborative. The building does not resemble traditional emergency rooms inside hospitals. The exterior is modernistic, like a stainless steel and glass origami structure, and the interior is light-filled and clean.

In an article in the Dallas Morning News, Ong noted that the comforting design of the new building was inspired by his own stressful visit to the hospital when his wife gave premature birth to his son.

“Here I was in an emergency situation, my second son’s life is at stake, and there’s nothing in this hospital that comforts me or my wife,” says Ong in the article. “There’s no environmental or architectural cue that lets us know we are not the only people in the world experiencing this.”

In contrast, the Legacy ER is filled with natural light from skylights and windows. Patients do not feel trapped in sterile, dank spaces – they can view the surrounding landscape through big windows located at the ends of hallways. In the triage room, a photograph of trees in a nearby park brings the natural feeling to an otherwise scary space.

The evidence-based design concept informs a number of design elements. For example, research shows that fewer mistakes are made in exam rooms when they are uniform, with everything consistently in the same place. So Ong designed the rooms with the sinks in the same orientation, rather than on opposite walls in adjoining rooms, as typically is the case when the designer tries to put the plumbing for two rooms behind one wall.

Another evidence-based design element is compactness – when caregivers can get from place to place in fewer steps, they can deal with emergency issues seconds faster.

Employee comfort is also addressed in the design. For example, caregivers can temporarily get out of the fray by climbing to a second-story conference room tucked under the roof planes.

The building, which is one of two designed by Ong for Legacy ER, is surely a view of the future of quality healthcare design.

For photos of this building, click here.

Animal Architecture: We Are Not Alone


Sure, humans have an edge when it comes to tall buildings and stained glass windows, but no one can deny that gophers build about the best darn tunnels in existence! Animal architecture is rarely investigated by designers, but animals are clearly the most practical builders of all. They build their homes for many of the same reasons humans do – protection from enemies and the elements, storage spaces for food, and to attract mates.

Consider the great bowerbird. The male builds an elaborate, dome-like nest on the ground that can reach 45 centimeters tall and 1 meter wide. On the edges the bird scatters white and green objects, such as stones, shells, and man-made objects. The point of all this? To attract a mate. Once a male succeeds in mating, the female raises the young alone in an inconspicuous nest, leaving the male to continue maintaining his snazzy digs.

A great architect of the insect world is the termite. In the United States termites destroy human structures, but in Africa they build mounds up to nearly 30 feet high! Those mounds can be quite complex and include elaborate thermoregulation features. For example, the compass termite builds tall, wedge-shaped mounds that are oriented north to south. This means that when the sun is blazing at its peak intensity, it strikes the skinniest part of the mound, reducing the heat transmitted to the mound. The mounds also feature “chimneys” that draw hot air out of the mound and pull fresh air throughout the network. Research shows that these temperature-control measures keep mounds within a 1 or 2 degree Celsius range over the course of a day, which is essential for raising young and growing the fungus many termites eat.

Of course, one of nature’s most prolific builders is the beaver. Everyone knows beavers cut down trees near streams with their teeth, but did you know they also carry rocks and mud in their paws to fill in the cracks? Plus, beavers don’t just pile up a bunch of sticks to make their dams – the dams are in fact quite well planned out. Beavers first divert the stream to reduce the pressure, then drive branches and logs into the mud to form a base. Then they take sticks, bark, mud, grass, leaves, and other materials to build up the dam on that base. The resulting structure can exceed 1.5 meters in thickness and nearly 2 meters in height. Beavers create different dams depending on water flow – in fast-moving water the dams are curved, and in slow water they’re straight. And they typically add spillways to allow excess water to drain off without damaging the dam.

So the next time you design a fancy bachelor pad, a well-insulated green home, or a major civil engineering project, just remember that some animal probably thought of it first!

Milller Blueprint Becomes a Bluebeam Certified Reseller

Our goal at Miller Blueprint is to continue to add tools and services that are helpful to you, our customer.  The latest addition is offering Bluebeam Revu, which is a powerful,  easy-to-use, cost effective PDF-based creation, markup and collaboration  tool already used by many of our AEC customers. Cost-effective translates to half the cost of competitive products.

“Create,” “comment” and “collaborate” aren’t just buzzwords used in today’s AEC world – they are the new reality.  Bluebeam Revu software is used by over half of the contractors, design firms and specialty contractors in the U.S. Becoming a Bluebeam authorized reseller is further proof of Miller Blueprint’s commitment to helping our customers increase productivity, improve workflow efficiency, significantly reduce printing and distribution costs, as well as reduce paper usage.  If you’re looking to add another Bluebeam Revu software license or purchasing your very first one, choose Miller Blueprint.

To learn more about Bluebeam Revu or want to know more about Miller Blueprint’s innovative digital solutions visit or call Webb Fox at 512.200.6549.

The Precursor to Pantone


Have you ever flipped through a Pantone book? Impressed by all those color choices? Imagine creating all of those colors yourself by hand! That is exactly what Dutch artist A. Boogert did in 1692 with his book, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau. The book, which spans nearly 800 pages, was intended to be an educational guide and explains how hues are created and how tones can be changed by adding one, two, or three parts water.

Read more about Boogert’s work here.


News You Can Use

Construction Begins on Goodwill Center

UT Medical School Construction Underway

Austin Council Approves Point Towers Construction

Almost 20,000 New Apartment Units on Tap for Austin

AIA Billings Index Drops in March

Builder Confidence Up One Point in April


Ten Fastest Growing Cities

Raleigh, NC
Salt Lake City
Ogden, UT
Charlotte, NC

Source: Forbes

10 Signs of Water-Stress in Trees

1) Wilting (loss of turgidity) of leaves
2) Damage at tops of trees
3) Yellowish groups of leaves
4) Browning on leaf edges
5) Brown spots in middle of leaves
6) Misshapen, curled-up leaves
7) Stunted growth in spring
8) Dieback of leaves and twigs
9) Gummy exudates on twigs, branches, and trunk
10) Suckers on trunk and branches

AIA’s 2014 Top 10 Green Projects

1) Arizona State University Student Health Services, Tempe
2) Bud Clark Commons, Portland
3) Bushwick Inlet Park, Brooklyn
4) Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building Modernization, Portland
5) Gateway Center, Syracuse
6) John & Frances Angelos Law Center, Baltimore
7) Sustainability Treehouse, Glen Jean, WV
8) David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters, Los Altos, CA
9) U.S. Land Port of Entry, Warroad, MN
10) Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building, Grand Junction, CO

For information on each of these, click here.


May Coupon

May Coupon - BannerStands

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