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Welcome to the world of William McDonough


Architect, designer, thought leader, and author–his vision for a future of abundance for all is helping companies and communities think differently. Together they are changing the world.

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Thought Leadership

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Urban & Community Design

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Architecture for the Circular Economy

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Design + Chemistry

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Product + Packaging Design

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Cradle to Cradle Certification

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VIDEOS: Davos 2016 Hub Culture Interviews at ICEhouse

Hub Culture did an excellent job covering Davos and all of the visitors to ICEhouse last week in Davos. Here are a couple of their interviews with William McDonough:


Read additional ICEhouse news here.

Learn more about the ICEhouse on the William McDonough + Partners website.


VIDEO: Design Innovation, the Circular Economy and Cradle to Cradle


William McDonough’s ICEhouse™ debuts in Davos


Designer and thought leader William McDonough has debuted ICEhouse™ (Innovation for the Circular Economy house) in Davos this week, as a place for those attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting to gather and discuss the future of Innovation for the Circular Economy.

Stay tuned as we’ll continue to update this page with photos throughout the week:





About ICEhouse:

ICEhouse was created by William McDonough working with his firms, William McDonough + Partners and WonderFrame LLC. The McDonough team was invited by Hub Culture, a global collaboration network, to create the structure in Davos. The project was supported by and a close collaboration with SABIC and also received support from SAP. It is the centerpiece of Hub Culture’s mission to welcome innovators and leaders at the World Economic Forum. Sited on the main promenade at Davos, ICEhouse is made of aluminum and SABIC’s LEXANTM polycarbonate sheet and systems. Shaw Contract Group provided flooring materials. The walls and roof structure were assembled in just a few days.

The structure has been designed to demonstrate the positive design framework described in the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and the reuse of resources implicit in the circular economy. According to McDonough, who serves as Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy, “In an economic sense, the circular economy puts the ‘re’ back into resources.”

After the close of the 2016 World Economic Forum, McDonough plans to locate an ICEhouse in Amsterdam, at The Valley at Schiphol Trade Park, The Netherlands’ new National Hub for the Circular Economy (for which McDonough is a partner and master architect). William McDonough + Partners architects has designed pioneering architectural projects, such the Park 20|20 development near Schiphol Trade Park—“circular buildings” and “circular architecture”—that are designed to embody the economic principles of the circular economy and quality inherent in Cradle to Cradle-inspired design.

“ICEhouse is a structure designed for disassembly and reconstruction,” said William McDonough. “In a poetic sense, like ice, it is ephemeral: It is here for a week, in the Alps. Next week it will melt away… destined to reappear elsewhere.”

ICEhouse also is an experiment in employing the WonderFrame™, which William McDonough is designing as part of a broader vision for a simple structural system that could be erected with locally available materials (in any given location) quickly and to accommodate a range of uses. Of the WonderFrame concept, McDonough noted that it is “designed to help us find ways to utilize many kinds of affordable materials to create dignified buildings for people in a variety of situations. We are calling it ‘wonder’ because we want people to wonder what it’s made of, and ‘frame’ because it is meant to be whatever structure each community and culture may need, and constructed from whatever materials they have available in that place at that time.”

ICEhouse™ and WonderFrame™ are trademarks of McDonough Innovation, LLC.

Cradle to Cradle® is a registered trademark of MBDC, LLC.

For more information, visit the ICEhouse project page here.

January 20-23: McDonough @ World Economic Forum


William McDonough will attend the 2016 Annual Meeting in his role as chair of the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.  The Cradle to Cradle® design framework that William McDonough co-developed is an underpinning philosophy of the circular economy and the new Council.

ICEhouse (innovation for the circular economy) will also debut at the Annual Meeting.  This unique structure was conceived, designed and implemented by McDonough Innovation. ICEhouse will serve as a circular economy convening space and illustrate the opportunities of Cradle to Cradle® Design.

To learn more about ICEhouse visit here.


About the World Economic Forum

The 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will be held January 20-23 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

We live in a fast-paced and interconnected world, where breakthrough technologies, demographic shifts and political transformations have far-reaching societal and economic consequences. More than ever, leaders need to share insights and innovations on how best to navigate the future.

The Annual Meeting remains the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas.


Stay tuned for more event details.


Cradle to Cradle noted as seminal sustainability text by Nature


Adam Rome, professor of history and English and the Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair for the Environment at the University of Delaware in Newark, recently published on article on, highlighting five books that first made sustainability a public issue in the 1960s and 1970s.

He explains the books of this decade demonstrate that building a sustainable civilization is multidimensional. Rome stated that we cannot “advance in a straight line. We need to approach the goal from many directions, with flexibility and tenacity.”

Rome described Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, written by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, as a much better introduction to sustainable design compared to R. Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Although in 1969, Fuller’s Operating Manual was new and inspiring.  Inspiring particularly to those individuals who strived to invent eco-efficient ways of providing energy, building things and managing wastes.

See the latest news regarding Cradle to Cradle.

Learn more about Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and where to order a copy here.

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William McDonough’s interests, activities, and influence range widely, as he works at scales from the global to the molecular.

Click here to read William McDonough’s Biography.



  • The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance

    The Upcycle, published in 2013, draws on a decade of lessons in putting Cradle to Cradle concepts into practice. LEARN MORE

  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

    Published in 2002, widely acknowledged a one of the most important environmental manifestos of our time. LEARN MORE

  • The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability

    Prepared in 1992 by William McDonough Architects and Dr. Michael Braungart; commissioned by the City of Hannover, Germany, as design principles for Expo 2000, The World’s Fair. LEARN MORE

  • Investing in Innovation for the Common Good

    An appreciation and presentation of Thomas F. Darden’s speech on Low Energy Nuclear Reaction. Written by William McDonough July 2015. LEARN MORE

  • Clean Machine

    Written by William McDonough. Published in The Huffington Post, September 10, 2014. LEARN MORE

  • Building for a Better World and Making People Smile

    By William McDonough and Coert Zachariasse. Published in Newsweek, June 5, 2014. LEARN MORE

  • Designing cities and factories with urban agriculture in mind

    The Netherlands offers inspiration for designers looking to create environments that harvest water, energy and nutrients. Published April 23, 2014 in the Guardian by William McDonough. LEARN MORE

  • Building Cities that Celebrate Life

    Published in ASU Global Institute of Sustainability News: Thought Leader Series. April 15, 2014. LEARN MORE

  • William McDonough and Michael Braungart on the Future of Small-Scale Wind Power

    Wind power is one renewable energy source that’s fixing its flaws and being used for small-scale production. By William McDonough and Michael Braungart, March 31, 2014. LEARN MORE

  • Climate change and circular economy take centre stage at Davos

    After leading a design and sustainability workshop the 2014 World Economic Forum, William McDonough reflects on why he is hopeful for sustainable change. February 21, 2014. LEARN MORE

  • Foreword: Second Nature Urban Agriculture

    Foreword written by William McDonough for Second Nature Urban Agriculture: Designing Productive Cities (eds. Andre Vilijoen & Katrin Bohn, published by Routledge, 2014) LEARN MORE

  • Upcycling business: honouring nature while meeting societys needs

    A new fellowship seeks to bring young designers and engineers together to reinvent the economy with a sustainable philosophy. By William McDonough, published in the Guardian December 6, 2013. LEARN MORE

  • Lets save endangered technical species

    By William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Published April 15, 2013 for LEARN MORE

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