Just in case you couldn't tell from the page count and sheer weight, this issue of HEALTHCARE DESIGN features our annual Architectural Showcase, featuring more than 100 peer-reviewed projects. Three of those projects were chosen by our jury to be the best of the best and have been awarded Citations of Merit-check them out starting on page 64, and see what the jury had to say about them on page 56.

But what about the rest of the projects? Twenty-odd projects total were nominated for Citations, a fairly high percentage-but the fact that only three were ultimately chosen should tell you all you need to know about how difficult it is to achieve greatness this year. That still leaves 80 or so projects though, not counting projects that were submitted and rejected. What can we learn from them?

Plenty, of course. We arrange the Showcase entries by building type, so if your next project is, say, a Cancer Center, you can refer to those entries to see what other teams across the country are doing with similar projects. While I understand that flipping through hundreds of pages of projects may get a bit mind-numbing after a while, I feel that approaching the contents one building type at a time helps to combat that sense of overload, and provides a more apples-to-apples result for the reader.

Most significantly, this issue really shows an overall picture of healthcare building in our country at this particular point in time, just as we've done every year since our first issue in 2001. One of the things we did with the jury at our judging in Chicago earlier this year was present an overview of Citation-winning projects from each Architectural Showcase stretching back over the last decade. This exercise not only provided a healthy sense of how far the industry has come since 2001, but also illuminated the many trends that were once groundbreaking and are now considered the norm.

If you-as some jury members have in the past-feel that you've “seen it all before,” I urge you to dig out the last few years of Architectural Showcase issues from your archives (or visit ours online at www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com) and take a look at how far we've come. I guarantee you'll look at this year's-and next year's-projects differently.

Healthcare Design 2010 September;10(9):8