Critic John King profiles William McDonough in San Francisco Chronicle


John King spent some time with William McDonough at our San Francisco studio and at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay construction site (a project we designed with Stantec) during the busy Greenbuild week, and told some the story of this “green pioneer” and his architecture work in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 14.


Here are some excerpts–

McDonough, 61, has created the equivalent of a multiplatform brand in Earth-friendly design, forging partnerships with the likes of Brad Pitt and Walmart at the same time he presides over a 25-person architecture firm [based] in Charlottesville, Va.

McDonough’s varied worlds overlap this week in San Francisco. On Thursday at Moscone Center, he will give a concluding speech at Greenbuild, a conference with 35,000 attendees hosted by the United States Green Building Council. On Wednesday night, by contrast, he’s the subject of a fundraising tribute for his Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institution; tickets start at $1,000 and the master of ceremonies is Susan Sarandon. He will be introduced by Meryl Streep, who has known him since their days at Yale.

But to McDonough – who is on Walmart’s advisory board and has been involved with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, since 2002 – environmentalism will be embraced only if the message resonates with decision makers and the public.

For instance: “I don’t say ‘sustainable,’ I say ‘sustainable growth.’ It’s an active thing,” McDonough said during an interview Monday morning before heading off to give a talk to North Face employees on his design philosophy. ” ‘Sustainable’ sounds boring, not fecund, not jazzy and cool.” ….

The San Francisco office of William McDonough + Partners opened in 2006, a ninth-floor perch on Post Street with tall windows that let in air and natural light. This is the only outpost beyond Charlottesville, and it has led to such local projects as a new research building for NASA at Moffett Field that opened in April and bears the name Sustainability Base.

Read the full story at this link.