Renowned Designer and Environmentalist

William McDonough
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William McDonough At A Glance:

William McDonough is an internationally renowned designer and one of the primary proponents and shapers of what he and his partners call ‘The Next Industrial Revolution.’

William McDonough is an internationally renowned designer and one of the primary proponents and shapers of what he and his partners call ‘˜The Next Industrial Revolution.’ Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as a ‘˜Hero for the Planet’, stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world.” Time Magazine again recognized Mr. McDonough and Michael Braungart as “Heroes of the Environment”in October 2007.

In 1996, Mr. McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation’s highest environmental honor; and in 2003 earned the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. In 2004 he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. In October 2007, Mr. McDonough was elected an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Mr. McDonough is the founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, an internationally recognized design firm practicing ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent architecture and planning in the U.S. and abroad. He is also principal of MBDC, a product and systems development firm assisting prominent client companies in designing profitable and environmentally intelligent solutions.

Mr. McDonough is a Venture Partner at VantagePoint Venture Partners in San Bruno, California.

Mr. McDonough is an Alumni Research Professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He also serves as U.S. Chairman and member of the Board of Councilors of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development. He is part of the Management Committee of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Business & The Environment Programme at Cambridge University. From 1994-1999, Mr. McDonough was the Edward E. Elson Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

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  • Cradle to Cradle

    William McDonough's book, written with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart, is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that "takes, makes and wastes" can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.

    In Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design. The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences.

    Today, with our growing knowledge of the living earth, design can reflect a new spirit. In fact, the authors write, when designers employ the intelligence of natural systems—the effectiveness of nutrient cycling, the abundance of the sun's energy—they can create products, industrial systems, buildings, even regional plans that allow nature and commerce to fruitfully co-exist.

    Cradle to Cradle maps the lineaments of McDonough and Braungart's new design paradigm, offering practical steps on how to innovate within today's economic environment. Part social history, part green business primer, part design manual, the book makes plain that the re-invention of human industry is not only within our grasp, it is our best hope for a future of sustaining prosperity.

    In addition to describing the hopeful, nature-inspired design principles that are making industry both prosperous and sustainable, the book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic 'paper,' made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This 'treeless' book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles.
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