By Boyce Thompson. I always chuckle when someone characterizes the home building industry as backward, resistant to change. Granted many homes today are built the same way they always were, with a conventional stick frame. But that may be one of the few things about the industry that hasn't changed in the last quarter century.

This year marks BUILDER magazine's 25th anniversary. During its existence, the magazine has chronicled countless changes in the vigorous home building business. It's a tribute to the dynamic nature of your business that we always have something important and interesting to write about.

In its early days, BUILDER chronicled the industry's life-and-death struggle with economic cycles. The magazine rode the huge surge in attached construction during the early '80s and reported on the industry's early fascination with energy efficiency. In recent years, we've covered the emergence of computerization and the remarkable onset of mass customization. We're planning a complete anniversary report in our April issue.

Our latest show home project, HomeDestinations at Southern Highlands, in Las Vegas, exemplifies many of the trends that have changed the face of the industry. Our builder, Christopher Homes, has always been at the vanguard of production housing design, working with the best architects and finding ways to personalize homes for buyers. In recent years CEO Chris Stuhmer has established a custom home division to take his company to the next level.

HomeDestinations, the fifth project in our BUILDER show home series, and our first stab at a custom home, contains more great design ideas than I have space to mention here. The home points in new architectural directions, with its remarkable blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, its unusual palette of materials, and its novel floor plan with surprises at every turn. Mark Scheurer and his partners at Scheurer Architects, one of the most celebrated housing architecture firms of the last decade, outdid themselves. Feast your eyes on the interiors by Chris Johnson's Design Tech Interiors; many border on pure art.

Our team wanted to create a show home with as many industry take-aways as possible, resulting in a home far grander and larger than most built today. While we designed a large house for the sheer space to illustrate design ideas, we also take a hard look at natural resource depletion. In our compelling expose, "Material World", we offer a report card on the natural resources hardest hit by world population and resource use (and misuse), and urge builders to rethink common assumptions and practices to help stem resource erosion. Builders who want to be in business in the next 10 years must take note of the biggest resources red flags.

We also look at how the high-density and low-square-footage characteristics of the burgeoning traditional neighborhood development movement holds promise for halting the demise of one of the most "endangered" resources: land.

This year's America's Best Builder contest produced some particularly good winners and, as a result, profiles. And our feature "Material World" is one of the best pieces we've ever produced at BUILDER.

We like to think that BUILDER is much more than just a magazine. We take quite seriously our duty to report on the industry. But as our show home and award programs demonstrate, along with our foresighted special reports and primary research, we're also an integral part of the industry we chronicle, identifying new directions in construction, business management, sales, and architecture.

Photo: Katherine Lambert

Boyce Thompson

Editor in Chief