October 2014 Newsletter

Hello Friends!

I hope you are all enjoying the cooler temperatures that we have had this month and that you have taken the opportunity to be outdoors. This week we have the time change – so don’t forget to “fall back” on Sunday morning.

Two things to mention: a reminder that we will be moving our downtown location to 1000 E 7th Street on February 2nd (one mile east of our current location), and that our Miller 2015 calendar will be out in early December (order form available here).

Happy Halloween!

Luci Miller

Sweet Projects: Connections Between Bees and Buildings


Building a home on the planet Mars might seem like an impossible project, but the humble bee is helping one designer create plans for just that. Artist Noah Hornberger designed a 3D-printed honeycomb-based housing structure to win a contest sponsored by NASA and MakerBot to create a feasible Mars-based home.

Hornberger created a home called the Queen B that is based on a hexagonal grid. Each equal-size room of the home can be printed on a 3D printer and fitted together to form kind of a honeycomb with a larger space in the middle. The rooms on the perimeter can be used for bedrooms, kitchen, laboratory, whatever, and the center room is a living room or meeting space.

Read more about Hornberger’s design here.

Perhaps the bees that inspired Hornberger were returning a favor. Bees themselves benefited from the efforts of graduate architecture students at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning in 2012.

A giant bee colony had made its home inside an abandoned grain elevator in Buffalo. The grain elevator was scheduled for rehabilitation, so the bees had to go. Rigidized Metals Corporation, which owns the elevator, sponsored a contest to design a new home for the bees.

The winning design is a 22-foot tall steel, glass, and cypress tower that was subsequently built near the grain elevator. The exterior of the tower features hexagonal shapes inspired by the honeycomb, and the interior includes a “bee elevator” that houses the actual colony. The elevator can be raised to allow humans to step underneath and see the colony in action.

The five students who designed the structure not only won the contest, they also tasted the results of the bees’ work when they pressed the honey from the existing comb. Learn more about this bee-utiful project here.

Where Architects Trick-or-Treat: Amazing Cemetery Architecture


It’s not likely that many architects dream of designing headstones or mausoleums, but that architecture clearly outlives, so to say, buildings made for the living.

One great recent example of cemetery architecture, the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis, won a 2014 AIA National Honor Award. This mausoleum, designed by Joan Sarano and John Cook, is built into a hillside to preserve the cemetery’s pastoral quality. The exterior of the two-level mausoleum features split-faced gray granite, white mosaic-marble trim, and bronze doors. Click here to learn more.

“Funerary architecture is an incredible opportunity to create something meaningful for a community,” Soranno writes on HGA’s website. “The mausoleum allows visitors to experience a sense of peace and calm in an environment conducive to contemplation and healing.”

Another recent award-winning cemetery structure is the Islamic Cemetery in Altach, Austria. The cemetery, designed by Bernardo Bader, won the Agha Kahn Award for Architecture in 2013. The cemetery serves the area’s Islamic population, which makes up about 8 percent of the residents.
The cemetery includes several buildings made of reinforced concrete for the walls and oak for the ornamentation. A lattice-like system of red concrete walls delineates five grave fields oriented towards Mecca and a rectangular one-story building in a simple but monumental design. Learn more here.

The jury citation read, “The Islamic Cemetery, in its restrained and measured expression, belies a complex cultural negotiation… Simple in expression and poetic in form, it not only engages the natural landscape in an intelligent manner but also suspends any notion of declaration.”
The projects above won awards, but what cemetery monuments do architects build for themselves? A new book called “Their Final Place: A Guide to Graves of Notable American Architects” by Henry Kuehn describes the final resting places of 150 famous architects. Only of the few of them reflect the work of the architect, surprisingly.

“It seems strange that these great architects, who created landmark structures during their lives, put so little thought into how they themselves would be memorialized for time eternal,” Kuehn writes. “Apparently most of these architectural giants, like most of us ordinary people, either did not feel like dealing with death or felt that a lasting memorial for them was not important.”

Exceptions to this rule include Mies van der Rohe, who is buried under an appropriately austere gray granite slab in Chicago’s Graceland cemetery, and Louis Sullivan, buried in the same cemetery under a granite block decorated with nature-inspired intricate decorations.

Learn more about Kuehn’s book here.

Naturally, the landscape architecture plays a major role in any well-designed cemetery. Several programs exist to help landscape architects serve this market.

The National Preservation Institute offers a seminar called Cemetery Landscapes: A Practical Guide to Care and Maintenance. The seminar description reads: “Learn how to protect historic cemetery landscapes, preserve integrity of design, and safeguard tombstones and monuments while pursuing a practical outlook on maintenance and budget concerns.” Click here for more information.

The National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training sponsored the International Cemetery Preservation Summit in April, at which landscape architects played a key role. Click here to read and watch a presentation by landscape architect Martha Lyon.

Cemeteries do not often get the attention lauded on skyscrapers, colleges, or fantastic residences, but they will certainly outlast all of those structures.

Photo credit: micadew


Inkjet Technology Breakthrough


Recently, HP and Memjet have introduced their amazing fixed printhead technology.  A fixed printhead inkjet printer produces color accurate documents in a single pass – faster and at a lower cost than comparable black and white toner based printers.  Fixed printhead technology has unlimited applications.  Everything from small color labels to billboard-size graphics can be printed at speeds that must be seen to believe.  HP introduces their fixed printhead PageWide large format capabilities in this short video and an informative video of Memjet ‘s fixed printhead technology can be found on their website.  If you would like to know more about fixed printhead technology contact Steve Coyle at 512.716.5058 or steve.coyle@millerblueprint.com.


Seven Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

Raleigh, NC (47.8% since 2000)
Austin, TX (44.9%)
Las Vegas, NV (43.6%)
Orlando, FL (34.2%)
Charlotte, NC (32.8%)
Riverside, CA (32.7%)
Phoenix, AZ (32.1%)

Source: Forbes.com


Seven Construction Jobs in the Army

Bridge Crewmember
Carpentry and Masonry Specialist
Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Operator
Horizontal Construction Engineer
Interior Electrician
Quarrying Specialist

Source: www.goarmy.com


Four Oldest U.S. Architecture Schools

MIT (1865)
Penn (1868)
Illinois (1870)
Syracuse (1873)


News You Can Use

Construction Begins on Austin Biotech Campus

East Austin Brewery Expansion Approved

Public Art Installation Makes Downtown Austin Brighter

International Investor Buys Austin Office Building


Special Savings!

October Coupon - Canvas Prints