Independent Design Magazine

William McDonough the ‘Hero for the Planet’

William McDonough the ‘Hero for the Planet’


William McDonough is an American Architect who was recognized as ‘The King of Green’, ‘Green Pioneer’ and ‘Hero for the Planet’ by Time Magazine in 1999.

McDonough was born in Tokyo in 1951. In 1981 he founded his own Architectural Firm ‘William McDonough + Partners’ in New York City. Later on, in 1994, he moved the firm from New York City to Virginia after he became the Dean of School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

Throughout the years, McDonough worked as a professor, consultant to international firms, companies, and organizations. William McDonough also is the founding member of the Sustainability Leadership Council at Cambridge University. In addition to that, he is on the Board of Trustees for Sustainability at Arizona State University. 

Besides, he cofounded with the Chemist Micheal Braungart ‘McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry’ (MBDC).

Cradle to cradle by William McDonough

In 2002, McDonough and Chemist Braungart published a book ‘Cradle to cradle. Remaking the way we make things, they presented an intermixing between science and design with clean and safe materials and energy that is useful for society and the environment and decreases waste.

The book explained three principles in the design framework:

Everything is a source for something else

In fact, any waste can be a food or a start for something else, everything can be designed to safely returned to the soil as biological nutrients, or re-employed as new materials for different products as technical nutrients.

Use clean and renewable energy

Indeed any Design process can use clean and renewable energy in all its different forms as sun, wind and the energy that supports a clean healthier environment.

Celebrate Diversity

Furthermore, respecting and accepting all the challenges that may face the face. And dealing with the diversity of natural and cultural life.

Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry’ (MBDC) created the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program in 2005. To achieve new levels of sustainability achieved by its clients, while in 2010, they donated to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute license for the certification program and methodology.

Some of William McDonough’s projects all over the world

william mcdonough youtube project
YouTube Headquarters built in 1997 Photo Courtesy: Mark Luthringer
Nike’s European Headquarters built in 1999. Photo Courtesy: Marco X. Praagman
Nasa Sustainability base built in 2012. Photo Courtesy: Cesar Rubio
Greenbridge project built in 2010. Photo Courtesy: Nathan Clendenin Photography

Some of William McDonough’s awards

In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. He earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2003. Year after that, he received the National Design Award for achievement in the field of environmental design.

In July 2014, McDonough was appointed as Chair of the World Economic Forum Meta-Council on Circular Economy.

William McDonough is an Architect, Designer and a great Pioneer in the Sustainable green designs. Therefore, he should be a role model for many young Architects and guidance for all environmental Architects at all times

Architect graduated from Misr International University. Explorer, Passionate writer and designer, the main goal is to step out of the comfort zone and to learn everything about the world of Arts and Architecture.