McDonough to address ‘Ecology, Equity, Environment and Education’

It is a commonly held belief that commerce and ecology are diametrically opposite. One can be either pro-business or pro-environment, but not both.

William McDonough has debunked this myth through a proven track record of practicing ecologically, socially and economically intelligent architecture and planning. He will be in Steinberg Auditorium at 2 p.m. March 30 to discuss “Ecology, Equity, Environment and Education” for the Assembly Series.

His talk also is part of the “The Sustainable University Campus,” a national colloquium on campus environmental design, March 28 and 30. (More information)

The founder of McDonough Partners also is co-founder, with a German chemist, of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry LLC, a product and process firm that designs profitable and environmentally intelligent products and systems. Both of McDonough’s companies are internationally renowned, and his philosophy of a new way of designing places is being widely praised.

In 1996, he received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and in 1999 Time magazine recognized him 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.”

From the Netherlands to San Jose, Calif., from Woods Hole, Mass., to Hanover, Germany, there are examples of McDonough’s unique work. His clients represent a wide range of businesses, including IBM, Nike, Gap and Wal-Mart.

McDonough’s designs are based on a way of thinking that he calls “The Next Industrial Revolution.” He states it this way: “It is time to stage a second Industrial Revolution; one that measures progress by the number of smokestacks not seen across the skyline and that measures prosperity by how few raw materials are used and productivity by the number of people working.”

In his 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, co-written with partner Michael Braungart, this philosophy is spelled out as an optimistic, nature-inspired design principle that makes industry both prosperous and sustainable. To drive the idea home, the book itself is made from synthetic materials (plastic resins and inorganic fillers) that look and feel like real paper.

It also is water-resistant, more damage-proof and can be recycled. In other words, McDonough and Braungart have created a book that will travel in a cradle-to-cradle cycle.

In addition to his practice, McDonough holds teaching appointments with the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and at Cornell University’s School of Architecture.

He has received many honors and awards from his profession, including being named a fellow of the American Institute of Architecture and of the Urban Land Institute.

He earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth University and a master’s from Yale University’s School of Architecture.

McDonough’s lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, go online to

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