Letter from the Editor: A Different Way of Seeing

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I normally use this space to laud the exceptional facilities highlighted in this particularly special issue of Athletic Business. This year, however, I'd like to recognize the talented and committed people who make the Facilities of Merit® program a reality every year — namely, the architects who, by agreeing to sit on our panel of judges, volunteer hours of their time and generously share their expertise to select the 10 outstanding projects you'll find herein.

There has been nothing normal about 2020, including this year's judging. This issue represents the first time in the program's 40-year history that all judging was done virtually. In lieu of assembling our judges at AB headquarters in Madison, Wis., as we've done in the past, our judges were sent 53 digital presentations — one for each 2020 Architectural Showcase project — beautifully crafted by our art director, Nicole Bell. The judges scored these projects, narrowed the entries to the top 20 on their own time, and then convened online to refine that list into our winners' circle.

That discussion is by necessity kept confidential, but I wish it were possible for our readers to get a taste of the process we editors are privy to every year. Out of respect for our judges' time, I scheduled that video conference as a one-hour call. In the end it wasn't enough, and the judges eagerly agreed to convene for another call the following morning to finish the job. The reason I mention this is to bring attention to the passion that these five judges — all of them architects managing busy schedules – have for their work and the overarching pursuit of design perfection.

What our readers are treated to every year in this issue is not just a look at some impressive buildings. It goes without saying that the completion of every Showcase entry is an admirable feat in and of itself. The Facilities of Merit, however, are notable because of the talented group of individuals who select them, and the informed lens through which these professionals interpret the spaces in which we live, work and play.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Athletic Business with the title "A different way of seeing." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


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