William McDonough

Our World is Faced With a Major Design Flaw. There is No Validity to Products Designed To End Up As Waste

William Andrews McDonough 

Is an American designer, advisor, author, and thought leader. McDonough is founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) with German chemist Michael Braungart as well as co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, also with Braungart. McDonough's career is focused on creating a beneficial footprint. He espouses a message that we can design materials, systems, companies, products, buildings, and communities that continuously improve over time.




McDonough was born in Tokyo, the son of an American Seagram's executive, and trained at Dartmouth College and Yale University. In 1981 McDonough founded his architectural practice, and his first major commission was the 1984 Environmental Defense Fund Headquarters. The EDF's requirement of good indoor air quality in the structure exposed McDonough to the need for sustainable development.

McDonough's architecture practice, William McDonough + Partners operates studios in Charlottesville, Virginia, and San Francisco, California. McDonough moved his practice from New York City to Charlottesville in 1994 when he was appointed as the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. He served as Dean until 1999 and has since served as a professor of business administration and an alumni research professor. He is also co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is chairman of McDonough Advisors, which provides high-level consulting to companies, organizations, and governments around the world.

A number of large corporate projects for The Gap, Nike, and Herman Miller, led to his commission for a 20-year, US$2 billion environmental re-engineering of the Ford Motor Company's legendary River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The project included rolling out the world's largest "living roof" in October 2002. The roof of the 1.1 million square foot (100,000 m²) Dearborn truck assembly plant was covered with more than 10 acres (40,000 m²) of sedum, a low-growing ground cover.

In 1996 McDonough became the first and only individual recipient of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. In 1999 Time called him "Hero for the Planet". In 2002 he wrote (with Michael Braungart) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. In 2004 he received a National Design Award for environmental design from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.He is also a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.

McDonough is also a Senior Advisor and Venture Partner at VantagePoint Capital Partners,[18] one of the largest venture capital investors in clean technology.


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