I’m just returning from our annual judging event for the 23rd annual Healthcare Design Showcase. We’ve traditionally hosted the jury in Chicago, but this year we decided it was time for a change and set out for Omaha, Neb., a city full of impressive and award-winning healthcare projects, as well as the HDR headquarters, which served as our meeting venue.

I won’t reveal the winners just yet—keep your eye on hcdmagazine.com and explore the Design Showcase when it publishes in August.

For now, I’ll share that we dedicated a day prior to the judging itself to go on facility tours—a new addition to the event.

First, HDR gave presentations on two of the firm’s recent Showcase-winning international projects. Next, we hit the road and got a first-hand look at the firm’s Omaha-based Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

We were then guided by Altus Architectural Studios through its 2022 Showcase winner, Munroe-Meyer Institute, and lastly by Leo A Daly through that firm’s Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center project.
It was an ideal way to kick things off, and a reminder to jury members of what excellent design achieves—in all cases, these were environments that delivered impressive solutions to serve their unique care specialties and patient populations.

Take the Chihuly Sanctuary at the Buffett Cancer Center. The 3,000+-square-foot cornerstone to the hospital’s already impressive healing arts program showcases thousands of pieces by glass artist Dale Chihuly and offers an immensely peaceful retreat for patients, families, and staff who are managing the weight of cancer treatment.

The Munroe-Meyer Institute, which provides more than 100 services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, transformed a former office building into an immersive, fun, engaging, and accessible space that appears to address every possible detail that might interfere with a patient’s experience or safety. Meanwhile, the Omaha VA is a model of meaningful design, replete with solutions that both reflect and serve its population of veterans and their family members as both a healthcare and social destination.

It’s a special treat to walk so many projects, particularly in one day. And I’m immensely grateful to both the facilities and their design teams for allowing us to spend some time with them.

I’ll also take a moment to say how grateful I am to have spent time over my career with three inspiring industry members whom we’ve lost in recent weeks: Derek Parker, formerly of Anshen + Allen; Rebecca Lewis of DSGW Architects; and Robin Guenther of Perkins&Will. They were each champions for the field of healthcare design in many ways, and their legacies will certainly be lasting. Our HCD team sends condolences to their families and colleagues.

Jennifer Kovacs Silvis is editor-in-chief of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at jennifer.silvis@emeraldx.com.