Could design be the solution to many of our environmental issues? William McDonough, architect, author, environmental advisor, and Time Magazine's 1999 Hero for the Planet, believes that our environmental problems are design challenges that can not only be solved, but can also have a positive effect on the health of the economy, the environment and social issues. The foundation for this approach to a healthy world is based on three natural principles that inform all aspects of McDonough's designs. Everything is a resource that can be used by something else, renewable energy is abundant in many forms and can promote environmental and human health, and last, diversity is to be celebrated and used so that everything can work as it needs to in its own place.
William McDonough was trained as an architect, and has since used his training and experience to explore the concept of design as a tool that can be used to address the myriad environmental issues we face both locally and globally. Through his architectural firm, William McDonough + Partners, located in Charlottesville, VA and San Francisco, CA, he, along with a highly committed team of designers, takes on client projects in architecture, community design and consulting. Although the firm's projects are wide-ranging, all work taken on by William McDonough + Partners is focused around the common goal of creating spaces where people and nature are in harmony.
While the design work of the William McDonough architectural firm addresses the design needs of business and individual clients, McDonough is bringing his message of environmental problem solving to the public on both a local and a global scale through other avenues. With the publication of his 2002 book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” co-written with German chemist Michael Braungart and widely hailed as one of the foremost writings on the sustainability movement, McDonough brought the idea that positive solutions for environmental and social issues was possible to the world. The book is still helping to show people that viewing those issues in negative terms restricted creative problem solving.
The Cradle to Cradle movement paved the way for further initiatives by McDonough and his partners, all focused on positive change for the planet's future. The consulting firm McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry advises clients in many aspects of green design and construction. McDonough has also created several non-profit organizations. One encourages collaboration among industry groups interested in Cradle to Cradle thinking and another looks at the development of products that are better for the health of people and the environment. In response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, McDonough partnered with actor Brad Pitt to co-found Make It Right, which focuses on creating opportunities for affordable housing in the Lower 9th Ward.
Whether it's creating a natural, healthy living space for a family, encouraging healthy communities, or promoting positive environmental change on a global scale, William McDonough has brought together creative and innovative teams of people to address specific challenges through his various companies and organizations. The uniting force between all these enterprises is the idea that positive solutions through intelligent and thoughtful design can make a difference at every level. Clients who work with McDonough through his architectural firms, consulting services and the use of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy will be able to help create design solutions that are sustainable, healthy, and tailored to their specific needs. By offering positive solutions to environmental issues that are often looked at through a negative scope, McDonough is helping more people see that changing the way we look at our world can sometimes make all the difference.