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William McDonough

Internationally Renowned Architectural Designer


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.”

Since becoming in 1996 the first and only individual to receive the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation’s highest environmental honor, McDonough earned the US EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award as a member of the EcoWorx™ development team for Shaw Industries. Most recently, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. Presented annually by the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, it is an award recognizing “excellence, innovation and lasting achievement.”

MBDC founded in 1995 by world-renowned architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart, assists prominent client companies in designing profitable and environmentally intelligent solutions. McDonough also founded architecture and community design firm William McDonough +Partners. Internationally recognized for practicing ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent architecture and planning in the US and abroad.

McDonough is an Alumni Research Chair at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. In 2012, William McDonough partnered with Stanford University to create a “living archive” of sustainability with real-time collection of his professional works and communications. He also serves as US Chairman and member of the Board of Councilors of the China-US Center for Sustainable Development, and Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. He recently joined the Board of the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and the Management Committee of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Business & The Environment Programme at Cambridge University.

From 1994-1999, McDonough was the Edward E. Elson Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. MBDC assists clients in profitably implementing its scientifically based design approach to create solutions that are prosperous economically, socially, and environmentally. Recent MBDC projects include designing materials for shoes with Nike, fibers with Honeywell, furniture with Herman Miller, fabrics with Steel case, carpet with Shaw Industries, and transportation-related products with Ford Motor Company. In 2014, the World Economic Forum appointed McDonough to Chair of the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.

William McDonough + Partners has been a leader in the sustainable development movement since 1977. The design of the Environmental Defense Fund offices, completed in 1985, helped launch the ‘green building’ movement. Recent award-winning projects for Gap Inc., Nike, Herman Miller, and Oberlin College have set new standards for design quality, environmental sensitivity, and functional effectiveness. WM+P won BusinessWeek/Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business” Awards for large commercial projects during both of the awards program’s first two years.

As a leader in sustainable development, William McDonough actively participates in several conferences and forums to share ideas with environmentalists, designers, and business executives. He is recognized widely, both in the US and internationally, and he has written and lectured extensively on his design philosophy and practice. He was commissioned in 1991 to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover’s EXPO 2000, and in 1993 to give the Centennial Sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. In 2002, Michael Braungart along with William McDonough co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Translated in four languages, Cradle to Cradle has become a major influence and tool for sustainable design.

In 2009, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute was established in order to create a global standard for the development of safe, healthy products. The creation of the institute was inspired by William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle design theory and understanding the ecological, social and economic reward in applying its continuous improvement framework. In 2013 the U.S. Green Building Council incorporated the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Program in the latest version of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)rating system.


Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

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