August 2014 Newsletter

Hello Friends,

Welcome to the start of a new school year. Even if you do not have kids, you may recognize this time as a teaser that fall (and cooler weather) are just around the corner. So join me in looking forward to the many fun events that September and October bring to us – crowd pleasers such as ACL, football games, and F1 – but also nice individual activities such as longer bike rides, hikes on the greenbelt, or getting recipes ready for your favorite holiday treats.

As you enjoy the last foray of summer, Labor Day weekend, let’s remember that this holiday is dedicated to those who fought for the rights of the workers.  And of course, enjoy the extra day OFF from work! I would also like to say thanks to all of the great Miller Blueprint employees of today and yesteryear.  Your talent, energy and commitment have kept us going since 1920!

Until next month,

Luci Miller


The End of Boring Bridges


Remember when bridges just carried cars and trains over rivers? Those days are long gone – today bridges are pieces of artwork, designed to attract tourists as much as traffic.

That’s not exactly a new concept. After all, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Tower Bridge in London, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and many other classic bridges are tourist attractions. But it seems like there’s been a modern explosion of bridge design designed to do more than just carry passengers.

Consider the Dragon King Harbor River Bridge now under construction in Changsa Meixi Lake District in China. The bridge, designed by Next Architects in Amsterdam, is based on the idea of the Mobius ring and has elements of a well-known knot found in Chinese folklore.

“The bridge is more than just a connection. It is the key project for the development of the public space of the river park in the Meixi Lake District besides Changsha capital of Hunan province in China,” the architects write on Next’s website.

Click here to view more photos of this bridge and other Next projects.

Another fascinating modern bridge is the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne in England. It’s sometimes called the “Winking Eye Bridge” because it resembles a giant open eye and tilts open to allow watercraft to pass underneath. It was designed in 2001 by Wilkinson Eyre architects and Gifford structural engineers. The “winking” process is driven by six hydraulic rams that rotate the bridge on large bearings; it takes just 4.5 minutes to complete a rotation. See some photos here.

Even Frank Gehry, known for his dramatic stainless steel buildings, dipped his toe in the bridge design business when he created the BP Pedestrian Bridge in Millennium Park in Chicago. This undulating, stainless wonder carries walkers over Columbus Drive between Millennium Park and Grant Park to the east. It features a gentle 5 percent slope, making it totally accessible. It has become a key attraction of the park, which opened in 2004. Click here for some good photos of the project.

Bridges have long been objects of fascination, but these innovative designs bring that fascination to a new level.


Architecture and Fairy Tales: A Magical Connection


When you think of fairy tales, do you think of architecture? Beyond Cinderella’s castle, probably not. But a new connection between fairy tales and architecture has been forged by Blank Space, an online forum for discussions about architecture and related topics. Blank Space held a contest called Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells a Story, and invited designers to create fantasy narratives paired with artwork. Over 300 entries were received, and 15 winners – a mix of stories, poems, memoirs, and comics — were selected for a book being published this month.

Here are some examples. The first place winners, Kevin Wang and Nicholas J. O’Leary, wrote and illustrated an essay called “Chapter 13” that describes a fantasy city. Here is a small excerpt:

“Inside. Outside. They are no longer any different. Over-sized openings show me another interior enclosing my own prison. The world out there. Another cage with more restrictions. More rules. More limits. More of the cold steel, and hard concrete walls. Endless, and anonymous. They grow taller every year; perhaps reaching for fresher air, perhaps searching for a spot further away from the rest. I see open windows beyond my own, they show me adjacent bodies remaining completely unaware of the next, longing for signs of life.”  See more here.

The second place entry is an illustrated poem called Man and Ground by Anna Pietrzak. Here is the first section:

There is a constant presence in man’s life
The presence of ground
Ground is curved
Ground is fluid
Ground is surface
Ground receives man’s shadow
Ground receives man’s body.
Man knows ground through building
Building is dialogue; a story that lives in work
Ground asks questions to building
Building demands answers from ground
Architecture is language.

Read the whole poem here.

The third place winner is an illustrated story by Joseph Altshuler, Mari Altshuler, and Zachary Morrison. It’s a tale about Oscar, who is comforted during his life by four objects: Rough, Slick, Firm, and Sponge. No excerpt does this short, peaceful tale justice; read the whole thing here.

The book containing all of the winning entries can be ordered online here.


Miller Blueprint Offering iPlanTable Mobile Demonstrations September 23-24


iPlanTables offer a unique solution for viewing construction drawings and other project-related information.  They virtually eliminate the need for large printed materials and allow for quick access to project files.  Enhance your project collaboration and communication with these interactive touch screen displays!

The iPlanTable Mobile Demonstration Van allows us to bring this technology to your office or job site.  We will be offering iPlanTable Mobile Demonstrations on Tuesday, September 23rd and Wednesday, September 24th. 

During the mobile demonstrations we will also feature Bluebeam and Procure software along with software applications for the creation and management of digital construction sets and project closeouts. We will also be introducing the new line of iPlanTables: Studio Series, a 32” desktop multi-touch screen.

Contact Webb Fox at 512-200-6549 or to schedule your iPlanTable Mobile Demonstration today!

View photos of the Mobile Demonstration Van here.

Learn more about iPlanTables on our website.


Tips & Tricks: Reports Part I – Margins and Binding


Presentations, proposals, RFQs, and bids are a team effort. Since content for these written responses often comes from multiple people and multiple firms, it’s a good idea to combine everything in one consistent document prior to printing. For the first part in our series on reports, we’ll review page margins and why they are so critical in your bound documents.

Page margins keep your document looking consistent and easy to read. A document with varying margins will look disjointed and cobbled together. Control these margins from the very beginning by using a template with set margins.

Here are some basic guidelines for page margins:

Typical punched binding (comb, coil, and wire)
Initial page punch: 0.25″
Additional print-safe area: 0.25”
Total margin for bound edge: 0.5”

Three-hole punches
Initial page punch: 0.5″
Additional print-safe area: 0.25”
Total margin for bound edge: 0.75”

If you’re in doubt about your binding method, stick to 0.75″.

It is important to note that only your bound edge needs to have this larger margin. So what about the margins for the other three sides of your document?  A good rule of thumb is if the document is being sent to print as a single file, the outer, top, and bottom margins should all be set to 0.25”.  However, if the document is being sent as multiple files (especially by multiple people) then it’s best to keep the left and right margins the same.

If you have the opportunity, consider distributing your template to all content contributors at the beginning of the project. Identify areas reserved for page numbers and header data, and include fonts and colors to keep the look consistent. Having the whole team on the same page will save you time when finishing your bound document.


August Coupon

June Coupon-SmartphonePrints-SameasWindowGraphic

No coupon needed to take advantage of these great deals through the end of Summer 2014!

For more information or to place your order, please contact Ian Cousins, at 512.381.5276 or


Product of the Month: Canon iPF780/785 Inkjet Printers






Learn more here.


Current Promotions

Canon iPF8400
$800 Customer Rebate

Learn more here.


News You Can Use

New Austin App Helps Contractors Communicate in Spanish

Austin Firms See Opportunity in Bakken Gas

David Watts Named Prez of Austin Chapter of CSI

Historic Paramount Theater Sign to Be Restored

Business Architecture Innovation Workshop Coming to Austin in September


Top Five States for Carpenter Pay

Hawaii = $67,650
Alaska = $63,770
New York = $57,620
Massachusetts = $55,550
California = $55,240
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Four 2014 Predicted Construction Growth Areas

Hotel = 14.5%
Office = 12.8%
Retail = 7.4%
Amusement & Recreation = 3.7%
Source: AIA Consensus Index


Five Top Reasons for Injury in Road Construction

Contact with Objects of Equipment = 35%
Slips, Trips, or Falls = 20%
Overexertion = 15%
Transportation Incidents = 12%
Exposure to Harmful Substances = 5%