Albuquerque, NM - Su Casa, the Magazine of Southwestern Homes and Living, has won a Maggie Award for most improved quarterly consumer publication from the Western Publications Association. The award was announced by the Western Publishers Association on Friday, April 26, in Los Angeles.

Charles Poling, editor and associate publisher of Su Casa, said the award was based on improvements to the Autumn 2001 issue compared to the Autumn 2000 issue of the Albuquerque-based magazine. The 2001 issue was designed by art director Sarah Friedland.

The judging criteria for the Maggie award included the magazine's overall editorial content, cover, readability, research, and several design elements encapsulated under "editorial devices."

Su Casa joins the ranks of prestigious Maggie winners, including Road & Track, Mother Jones, PC World, Shape, and Sunset magazines. Su Casa is the only New Mexico-based magazine to win a Maggie this year.

"Hacienda Press is delighted to have Su Casa magazine recognized as the most improved quarterly magazine in the West over this past year," said Jim Folkman, publisher of Su Casa and executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico. Hacienda Press is a division of the association."This honor is especially meaningful for us since it comes from a group of critical observers from the Western Publishers Association." The WPA is a professional association for magazine publishers and related businesses west of the Mississippi River. "We are also greatly encouraged that other professionals in the publishing industry have recognized and applauded the new business and editorial philosophy we have brought to Su Casa," Folkman added.

Su Casa magazine started life in the fall of 1995 as a consumer quarterly that was "all about homes" in New Mexico. Hacienda Press took over the 6-year-old magazine from the previous publisher early last year, then launched a redesign with the Summer 2001 issue.

"We took the opportunity to completely overhaul the magazine editorially and graphically," Poling said. "We contracted with a design firm to update the look of the magazine. They created an 'editorial well' of uninterrupted feature stories, emphasizing color photography, more dynamic use of typography, and a seasonal color palette. At the same time, we worked with advertisers to freshen their ads."

Editorially, Su Casa introduced considerably more variety. While still featuring striking homes representative of the vibrant regional architecture perhaps best expressed in New Mexico, the widened editorial scope now includes historical stories, "think pieces" about architecture and design, profiles of artists, and explorations of the roots of Southwestern design and building.

The magazine also introduced regular columns and departments, including Letters, Style with Substance (feng shui meets the "Taos hum"), Market Makers (cottage-industry crafts and products), Home Work (intriguing people and businesses), Su Libro (book reviews), and Su Cuisine (great cooks at home).