I don't know if it's possible to be “trendy” west of the Adirondacks or east of the Sierra Nevadas, living as I do in tragically non-hip Cleveland. But it's always fun to indulge in “trend spotting,” wherever one happens to be. And, for an editor, it is especially rewarding to encapsulate trends in one's magazine.
I submit that this is what we're doing in this and the next issue of HEALTHCARE DESIGN. This issue, you'll note, includes a multipart article on Building Information Modeling, or BIM, using computers to create designs in a virtual three dimensions. We appear to be past the days when Frank Gehry stunned the architectural world by designing heretofore geometrically impossible buildings using software known as CATIA, developed by Dassault Systèmes. Everyone is familiar with the classic structures that emerged from that process, including one right here in Cleveland, the Weatherhead School of Management on the Case Western Reserve University campus—a marvel of swooping, reflective titanium.
Today's designers are just starting to move toward a new generation of BIM, one that promises to transform the basic process of building design and construction. You'll read about the early flowerings of this starting on page 30.
But healthcare facility design is also keeping pace with recent demographic and geographic developments in our society. As anyone who has driven within 30 to 50 miles of a major city knows, today's “city” is sprawling out into suburbia, exurbia and, very soon, Old MacDonald's farm, with sophisticated commercial, retail, residential mixed-use buildings and “new towns” going up right and left. Not surprisingly, hospitals are plunking themselves or affiliates right down in the middle of all this development, occupying what was dubbed several years ago to be “edge cities.”
It's not just a matter of constructing buildings in these neighborhoods, though. Hospital designers and planners are striving to accommodate the tastes and demands of new generations of boomers, Gen Xers, and Yers moving in and occupying them. The resulting hospitals are not your grandfather's, or even your father's, hospitals. Next month, a leading American architectural firm describes how it has met this challenge in designing two new facilities in edge cities surrounding Houston.
Sometimes there's more to a trend than the latest in hip fashions, entertainment venues, and celebrity misbehavior. Sometimes trends indicate a sea change involving an entire profession or even society. You study these trends and you begin to understand how your personal and professional future fits in. We're hoping that HEALTHCARE DESIGN is helping readers with this process.
Now for those alterations on my leisure suit…. HD
RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR