Doing the right thing for a community: Method’s South Side Soapbox in Pullman



George Pullman, designer of the Pullman sleeping car founded the company town Pullman on Chicago’s South Side, for employees to live. Pullman, like Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, founders of Method, sought to establish a center for high-tech manufacturing in the historic Pullman neighborhood. Pullman is known for provoking an epic strike that hindered the rail industry during the late 1800’s.  The Method founders have created a “do-good” company, producing sustainable products. “Our shareholders can hold us accountable if we’re not doing the right thing for the community,” stated Saskia van Gendt, Method’s Greenskeeper.

William McDonough + Partners, designed Method’s sustainable soap factory showcasing what will be the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse, once fully planted this fall. Gotham Greens will be in charge of managing the greenhouse, which is expected to produce up to 1 million pounds of sustainably grown produce annually. Not only did the design clean up the existing property surrounding it, with prairie grasses and rainwater-retention ponds, but it also brings much needed employment opportunities to the community.

The Cradle to Cradle® inspired design of the factory was to take on all nature’s elements. “The idea of a building like a tree fascinated me because it was negative entropy,” McDonough explained. The factory was designed to generate energy as well as grow food, similar to how trees separate carbon to expend oxygen. With this ideal, Method can also create products to do the same thing as the factory. Cradle and Cradle Certified™ products are assessed from studying how things are created, used, and upcycled so that they can either be reused or returned to the soil naturally.

Read Zach Mortice’s full story on Line//Shape//Space.