John King spent some time with our founder at the Willam McDonough + Partners San Francisco studio, and at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay construction site 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.
Excerpts from the Article:
It happened decades ago, and what’s done is well past done, but William McDonough still grows spirited as he recalls the specter of Richard Meier looking over his shoulder.
McDonough was a master’s degree student in the School of Architecture at Yale University; Meier was a revered modernist with a refined palate of white metal and clear glass. McDonough was working on a design for what would be a solar-heated house in Ireland, and Meier was underwhelmed.
“Richard Meier told me, ‘Young man, solar energy has nothing to do with architecture,’ ” McDonough recalled this week, leaning forward conspiratorially in his firm’s small San Francisco office. “He put me in a quandary: What am I supposed to do?”
The answer has proved to be expansive: buildings and products and an overall quest for what might be called “sustainable abundance” – a world where the growth of cities and societies is beneficial to nature, rather than destructive to the environment. 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 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.
About William McDonough
MBDC is the Cradle to Cradle consulting practice that William McDonough and Michael Braungart founded. Mr. McDonough is also active with William McDonough + Partners , his architecture practice, and provides CEO and governmental advising worldwide through McDonough Advisors.