architect • advisor • designer • thought leader • author
Download PDF: William McDonough Biography
Inaugural Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Circular Economy, 2014-2016
Recognized by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” noting: “His utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”
Received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, 1996
Earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries, 2003
Received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design, 2004
Architect of many of the recognized flagships of sustainable design, including:
- Ford Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan
- Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College
- NASA’s “space station on Earth” Sustainability Base – one of the most innovative facilities in the federal portfolio
William McDonough has written and lectured extensively on design as the first signal of human intention.
- In 1991, McDonough was commissioned to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover’s EXPO 2000, still recognized two decades after publication as a touchstone of sustainable design.
- In 2002, McDonough and the German chemist Michael Braungart co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (North Point Press), which is widely acknowledged as a seminal text of the sustainability movement.
- In the spring of 2013, McDonough and Braungart authored, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance (North Point Press).
- William McDonough has been a contributing author on Huffington Post since 2013.
- McDonough is a listed speaker on TED and Macmillan.
- William McDonough written works are available on Amazon.
- The McDonough Conversations (GreenBiz)
Corporate / Non-Profit
William McDonough advises commercial and governmental leaders worldwide through McDonough Innovation.
McDonough is also active with William McDonough + Partners, his architecture practice with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and San Francisco, California.
William McDonough and Michael Braungart co-founded MBDC, a Cradle to Cradle® consulting firm. McDonough and Braungart have also co-founded not-for-profit organizations to allow public accessibility to Cradle to Cradle thinking. These include:
- GreenBlue (2000), to convene industry groups around Cradle to Cradle issues.
- Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (2009), founded at the invitation of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create a global standard for the development of safe and healthy products.
McDonough co-founded Make It Right (2006-2017) with Brad Pitt to bring affordable Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.
Videos / Interviews
William McDonough: Architect & Designer (OnInnovation)
William McDonough Projects (Arch Daily)
Watch William McDonough’s Presentations (YouTube)
William McDonough speaking at Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day on April 18, 2015, in Washington D.C. The event was held to inspire citizens to take action for the people and the planet.
William McDonough discusses the benefits of the Cradle to Cradle® Design Framework in this Reuters TV segment, November 2015.
Resource Abundance by Design presented by William McDonough at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, September 12, 2014.
Huffington Post interviews sustainable design leader, William McDonough live at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
Beyond Sustainability: From Limits To Growth: William McDonough’s talk at the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland,January 24, 2014.
William McDonough Discusses Method’s New Manufacturing Facility (Huffington Post)
Green Pioneer William McDonough (San Francisco Chronicle)
William McDonough Feature: The King of Green Architecture (Discover Magazine)
Selected Honors & Awards
United States Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, 1996
Time Magazine Hero for the Planet, 1999
Interiors Magazine, Designer of the Year, 1999
I.D. Magazine, I.D. Forty Design Award, 2001
Columbia University Business School, Benjamin Botwinick Prize for Ethical Practice in the Professions, 2003
The Smithsonian Institution, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, National Design Award, 2004
Presidential Green Chemistry Award (for work with Shaw Industries/Berkshire Hathaway), 2004
U.S. EPA, 21st Century Visionary Science Leadership Award, 2008
Rachel Carson Environmental Award, Natural Products Award, 2013
National Wildlife Federation, J.N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award, 2014
US Green Building Council Leadership Award, 2016
The Circulars, Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership, 2017
World Green Building Council, David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award, 2017
Hanley Wood Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainability, 2017
Yale University, School of Architecture, Master of Architecture, 1976
Dartmouth College, Bachelor of Arts, Magna cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1973
University of Virginia: Dean, School of Architecture and Edward E. Elson Endowed Chair, 1994–1999; Darden School of Business, Professor of Business Administration & Alumni Research Professor, 1999–present
University of Cambridge: Sustainability Leadership Council, founding member, 2007–present
Stanford University: Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2004–present
Yale University: School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Leadership Council, 2002–present
Arizona State University: International Board of Trustees for Sustainability, 2007–present; William McDonough ASU Bio
Insituto de Empresa, Madrid, Spain: Eco-Intelligent Management Center, Chair, 2004–2006
Cornell University: A.D. White Professor-at-Large, 1999–2004
Tongji University, Shanhai: Honorary Professor, 2004
World Economic Forum:
- Member, Global Future Council on the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security, 2016 – present
- Chair, Meta-Council on Circular Economy, 2014–2016
- Sustainability Program Designer, Presenter and Moderator, 2014
- Global Agenda Council on Design, Member, 2010
- Global Agenda Council on Cities, 2011
- Global Agenda Council on the Future of Sustainable Construction, Chairman, 2008–2010
- Cultural Leader, 2002–2008
China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development: U.S. Chairman and Member of the Board of Councilors, 1999–2009; Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Board of Councilors, 2009-present
United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals¸ Presenter, 2014
United Nations Conference on Environment & Development (The Earth Summit): Official Representative for Architecture and City Planning, International Union of Architects and the American Institute of Architects (dual role), Rio de Janeiro, 1992
Preparatory Committee for UNCED (The Earth Summit): Official Representative, New York, 1992
Walmart: External Advisory Council, 2009–2014
General Electric: Ecomagination, Board of Advisors, 2008–2009
Dow Jones Sustainability Index: Advisory Board, 2004-present
VantagePoint Capital Partners: Senior Advisor, 2004–2015
Cherokee Sustainability Council: member
SAP CEO Sustainability Advisory Panel: member, 2011-present
Agilyx, Advisory Board, 2017-present
Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute: cofounder, 2009
Clinton Global Initiative: Advisor, 2013-2016
Make It Right Foundation: cofounder, 2006; Board Member, 2006–2017
Healthy Child Healthy World: Advisory Board, 2006–present
GreenBlue: cofounder, 2002
President’s Council on Sustainable Development : Special Advisor to President Clinton, 1993–1996
Cherokee-McDonough Challenge, Advisor, 2012–present
Alton Jones Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1992–1996
John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment¸ Board of Trustees, 2001–2004
American Institute of Architects: Fellow, 1997–present; Committee on the Environment, Founding Member
Royal Institute of British Architects: International Fellow, 2008–present
Urban Land Institute: Fellow, 1999–present
U.S. Green Building Council: Charter Member, 1993
American Society of Landscape Architects: Honorary Membership, 2008