Eco-Revolutionary: William McDonough Creates Cradle to Cradle Certification

William McDonough builds a movement for global change.

| May/June 2006

  • Photo by Marty Moore

Virginia architect William McDonough has outfitted Ford, IBM and Nike with earth-friendly offices, but what he’s really building is a movement for global change.

Green building

In 1977, as a Yale grad student, McDonough designed and built Ireland’s first solar-heated house, then created the first green offices in the United States for the Environmental Defense Fund. Since then, the founder of William McDonough + Partners in Charlottesville, Virginia, has received the National Design Award and two presidential honors for sustainable building.

Waste not

After he and industrial designer Michael Braungart designed a production system for a Swiss textile factory that creates effluent as pure as drinking water, McDonough channeled his ambitions toward zero waste. He thinks in terms of “upcycling”—reincarnating materials indefinitely in a continuous loop of use and reuse—instead of recycling, which takes a raw material only one step farther.

Design manifesto

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