While the issue you hold in your hands (or are reading on your screen) is HEALTHCARE DESIGN's fourth annual International Edition, focused exclusively on non-U.S. healthcare projects, it is only the second to feature the International Architectural Showcase (see pg. 39). Modeled after our long-running Architectural Showcase featured in our pages every September, the International Showcase is meant to highlight projects from outside of the United States.
Prior to October 2008, these projects were simply featured as part of the September Architectural Showcase, but last year, the decision was made to have International projects judged separately. Part of this decision was based on the fact that the contents of the October issue were already based on International projects and therefore it made sense to include them here. But the other driving factor came from the fact that our Architectural Showcase Jury members were having a difficult time comparing International and domestic projects on a scale that made sense.
For instance, it is still common in many regions of the world to have multiple-bed wards, a practice that is very seldom if ever seen here in the United States. Family and waiting areas are designed differently in regions with different customs, and the climate in some parts of the world can lead to significantly different design choices. These differences, and many others, make the coverage compelling, of course, but they also make it more difficult to accurately compare these projects to what we see here in the United States.
With that in mind, astute readers will notice that this year's International Showcase does not feature any Citation of Merit winners. I don't presume to speak for the jurors, but I can say that this doesn't necessarily mean that there weren't any worthy projects presented this year. In some cases, the submissions were in such a preliminary stage that it would be impossible to judge what the finished facility might look like. In other cases, it could be that the apples-to-oranges comparisons outlined above were just too far apart to put in perspective.
Whatever the reasons, however, the projects featured are most definitely worth a look and a read; just as the rest of the world learns from our designs, we should learn from the rest of the world. I hope our little whirlwind tour provides you with an interesting perspective on the work being done here in the States. HD
Todd Hutlock, Editor-in-Chief Healthcare Design 2009 October;9(10):6