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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
November 2012
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: Making Life Better Through Architecture

Architectural Firm of the Month: Miro Rivera Architects

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian Stone Chatham Bars Inn Welcome to the November issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. If you are chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, and highlight your firm as well. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.

Architectural Firm of the Month: Miro Rivera Architects
miro rivera 1 Photograph Copyright Paul Finkel

Miró Rivera Architects (MRA) is an award-winning architectural firm operating in Austin, Texas. The firm was formed by Juan Miró and Miguel Rivera in 2000. A wide range of architectural services are offered including architecture, urban design, and interior design. The firm's approach incorporates design at all scales of the project, resulting in a final product that is thoroughly composed and complete. 

Juan Miró is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and has served as a juror for many AIA design award competitions at the national, state, and local levels. Prior to forming Miró Rivera Architects, Juan Miró worked in New York City from 1991-1996 at Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, and in Spain. Juan is a Professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Texas at Austin. In his teaching, practice, and research he explores his interests in the role of the architectural profession in civic life, the relationship between the man-made and Nature, and the relevance of history for designers.

Miguel Rivera is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and the Texas Society of Architects (TSA). Before forming Miró Rivera Architects, Miguel Rivera was an associate at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in New York City (1991-2000), where he was involved in many award-winning large-scale, institutional projects.   

For more information visit:

Topic of the Month: Making Life Better Through Architecture             

miro rivera 1 Photograph Copyright Paul Finkel

When designing a building for a non-profit organization whose mission is to help youth and families in need, it is crucial to take into account the purpose of the space and to reflect that in all aspects of design. This is something that architect Miguel Rivera, AIA and his firm Miró Rivera Architects did with great success when working on the new LifeWorks building in Austin, Texas.

The firm used the elements of color, light and materials to add a sense of warmth and comfort to the building for those who would be using it the most. Rivera explains, "LifeWorks is a nonprofit organization in East Austin, a socioeconomically-disadvantaged area where youth and families need the kind of help that this organization provides. We wanted to create a building that was welcoming to families in trouble."

Bands of stucco, aluminum, and cedar line the exterior façade and represent the three aspects of support provided by the organization, including counseling, education, and youth development. "They have multiple programs, but these were the three main ones. We wanted to show that there is a lot happening inside this building and that it's not just one activity but many different things. "

The placement of the building on the site was another way Miró Rivera added sensitivity to the design. They did this by putting the parking area in the rear of the complex and bringing the front of the building closer to the adjacent road and echoing its curved line. They also created a colonnade that serves as a type of front porch for visitors, providing shade, refuge, identity, and light. Rivera explains, "The arcade is a three-level front porch, if you will, to help make it feel very welcoming and inviting. We want people to feel that this building belongs to the community."

The interior spaces are both unified and delineated by the use of color. It was also one of Miró Rivera's objectives to find ways to minimize the institutional nature of the facility and instead create an atmosphere of healing, inspiration, and confidence for clients who visit the LifeWorks building. Rivera explains, "The colors we used make it very welcoming. We also chose not to use typical commercial lay-in lighting, so we put pendant globes instead that give it a more residential feel. They help make the light more indirect and less office-like. We wanted the light to feel more welcoming in a residential way than in an institutional way."

To further add a sense of hope and connection to the world outside, the interior spaces are punctuated by outdoor areas on every level, the largest of which is a dramatic oculus. There are decks in different parts of the building where people can gather and be outside and interact with each other. "When we created the car entry through the building, we didn't want to break the design in half so we created a bridge, really a straight balcony that connects one side to the other. Since we have such great weather here the bridge gives a great reason to be outside and connect with the Texas landscape. However, we didn't want to limit the views to the horizon, so we added the oculus to create a connection to the sky and reinforce the hope that is the core of LifeWork's mission."

"Lifeworks has three other office facilities and we were able to visit them and learn how these programs work. We met some of the clients and also the people who work there including the directors, the counselors, and each program person. Every person working for this non-profit organization is very dedicated. They're there to help people, and it inspired us with the design to see people who are making a difference every day."

"This client realized how important it is to have a building that reflects their mission. It just makes everybody happy. Having a great environment makes all the difference in the world. It lifts the spirits of both the clients and the people who work there, and that is very gratifying."

The project took about a year to design and construction took another year. It currently is rated as a four-star building by the Austin Energy Green Building program, but Miró Rivera is working with LifeWorks to make some adjustments so that it will reach a five-star rating (AEGB's highest rating) by the end of the year.


Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

Copyright Devonian Stone of New York, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Content may not be copied or reproduced in any way without the written consent of Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.