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    William McDonough is a world-renowned architect, designer, speaker and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the nation′s highest environmental honor, the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a “Hero for the Planet” in 1999, stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”

    William McDonough is one of the primary proponents and shapers of what he and his partners call ′The Next Industrial Revolution.′ Time magazine again recognized Mr. McDonough and Michael Braungart as “Heroes of the Environment” in October 2007. Also in 2007, Mr. McDonough was elected an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

    William McDonough′s leadership in sustainable development is recognized widely, both in the U.S. and internationally, and he has written and lectured extensively on his design philosophy and practice. William McDonough and Michael Braungart co-authored the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which maps the lineaments of a new design paradigm, offering practical steps on how to innovate within today′s economic environment. Part social history, part green business primer, part design manual, the book makes plain that the re-invention of human industry is not only within our grasp, it is our best hope for a future of sustaining prosperity. In 1991, William McDonough was commissioned to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover′s EXPO 2000.

    William McDonough is the founding principal of an internationally recognized design firm practicing ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent architecture and planning in the U.S. and abroad. He is also principal of a product and systems development firm assisting prominent client companies in designing profitable and environmentally intelligent solutions. Mr. McDonough is an Alumni Research Professor at the University of Virginia′s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. William McDonough also serves as U.S. Chairman and member of the Board of Councilors of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development. He is part of the Management Committee of HRH The Prince of Wales′s Business & The Environment Programme at Cambridge University. From 1994-1999, William McDonough was the Edward E. Elson Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

    William McDonough is acclaimed for his creative and effective building designs; he is also recognized as the world leader in the field of ecologically intelligent architecture. Mr. McDonough believes firmly in minimizing human impact on the environment by modeling design on the elegance and efficiency of natural systems. Through this approach, William McDonough has produced numerous environmentally friendly, economically responsible buildings for corporate, commercial, institutional, and residential clients.


William McDonough Speaker Videos Back to top

Cradle to Cradle Design (TED Talk)



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


    Suggested Keynote Topics:
    • Uncovering Value: The Links Between Environmental and Financial Performance
    • Redesigning Real Estate: Building for Sustainable Prosperity
    • The Next Industrial Revolution: Beyond Recycling, Beyond Eco-Efficiency
    • A New Geography of Hope: Landscape, Design and the Renewal of Ecological Intelligence
    • The Extravagant Gesture: Nature, Design, and the Renewal of Human Industry


William McDonough Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    William McDonough′s "utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world."
    Time Magazine

    "A must for all - consumers, educators, health professionals, business and government leaders... McDonough offers a practical vision and gives us hope for a future that is safe for our grandchildren."
    Polly Walker, MD, MPH
    Center for a Livable Future
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    "McDonough has been practicing, writing and preaching ecologically sensitive, socially just design for more than 20 years. Style is one thing, but in terms of transforming the planet, no designer is more important to watch now."
    The Washington Post




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    William McDonough′s "utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world."
    Time Magazine

    "A must for all - consumers, educators, health professionals, business and government leaders... McDonough offers a practical vision and gives us hope for a future that is safe for our grandchildren."
    Polly Walker, MD, MPH
    Center for a Livable Future
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    "McDonough has been practicing, writing and preaching ecologically sensitive, socially just design for more than 20 years. Style is one thing, but in terms of transforming the planet, no designer is more important to watch now."
    The Washington Post


    Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
    Environmentalists are normally the last people to be called shortsighted, yet that′s essentially what architect McDonough and chemist Braungart contend in this clarion call for a new kind of ecological consciousness. The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally sound buildings, equipment and products. They argue that conventional, expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the planet.

    Our industrial products are simply not designed with environmental safety in mind; there′s no way to reclaim the natural resources they use or fully prevent ecosystem damage, and mitigating the damage is at best a stop-gap measure. What the authors propose in this clear, accessible manifesto is a new approach they′ve dubbed "eco-effectiveness": designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency. They cite examples from their own work, like rooftops covered with soil and plants that serve as natural insulation; nontoxic dyes and fabrics; their current overhaul of Ford′s legendary River Rouge factory; and the book itself, which will be printed on a synthetic "paper" that doesn′t use trees.

    Because profitability is a requirement of the designs, the thinking goes, they appeal to business owners and obviate the need for regulatory apparatus. These shimmery visions can sound too good to be true, and the book is sometimes frustratingly short on specifics, particularly when it comes to questions of public policy and the political interests that might oppose widespread implementation of these designs. Still, the authors′ original concepts are an inspiring reminder that humans are capable of much more elegant environmental solutions than the ones we′ve settled for in the last half-century. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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    Suggested Keynote Topics:
    • Uncovering Value: The Links Between Environmental and Financial Performance
    • Redesigning Real Estate: Building for Sustainable Prosperity
    • The Next Industrial Revolution: Beyond Recycling, Beyond Eco-Efficiency
    • A New Geography of Hope: Landscape, Design and the Renewal of Ecological Intelligence
    • The Extravagant Gesture: Nature, Design, and the Renewal of Human Industry


Cradle to Cradle Design (TED Talk)