December 2010

We are inspired by a wave of momentum around the country and the world. We see traction toward Cradle to Cradle gaining among individuals, companies, non-profits, cities, regions, and even countries. We are engaging in dozens of new relationships right now with groups of all sizes, and what they have in common, it seems, is a new understanding of and openness to Cradle to Cradle thinking. Cradle to Cradle is a seminal book in the movement and continues to find new readers. And maybe some people are re-reading it with a new perspective, because they are coming to us with a much deeper and richer willingness to embrace effectiveness instead of efficiency. They are coming to us looking to bring a “more good” ethic into their organizations and eliminate “less bad” strategies at all levels.

One such relationship we are cultivating is with the city and leadership of San Francisco. We are thrilled that Mayor Gavin Newsom and his team have shown great interest in Cradle to Cradle as a path to quality and enduring value. “We view the City of San Francisco as an exciting laboratory to apply Cradle to Cradle principles and provide lasting benefits,” says Newsom.

New Institute Launched
Our founder, William McDonough, has had a very busy spring and summer. In May, he and his collaborator, German chemist Michael Braungart, announced the formation of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization based in California focused on Cradle to Cradle® Certification. The Institute has been created to generate large-scale adoption of the Cradle to Cradle protocol. Why? Because being less bad is not being good. As board member Wendy Schmidt said at the announcement of the Institute’s launch, “We are changing the world, one product at a time.”

American University School of International Service: New Building Opens

In September, William McDonough and our team celebrated at the official opening of the new facility on the American University campus in Washington, D.C. We congratulate Dean Louis Goodman on this achievement. Goodman says that the new building “will promote peace, build community, and inspire our teaching. William McDonough + Partners made this possible by taking seriously our international service mission.”

NASA Sustainability Base Under Construction, Wins 2 Awards
“Sustainability Base will be both the test bed where NASA aerospace technology is applied to our everyday living and working environment, and a proof point for what is possible with an environmentally positive building,” says Steven Zornetzer, associate director of NASA Ames. We are proud of this exciting project, and delighted that it has already been recognized—even before it’s complete. It was awarded the GSA RealProperty Award for Innovation and the San Jose Business Times’ Structures Awards named it the best Green Project in Silicon Valley. Sustainability Base Video

Greenbridge: A New Community in Chapel Hill

Two of our directors, Mark Rylander and Jose Atienza, attended the formal opening ceremony in Chapel Hill of the Greenbridge mixed-use development. This infill project is already proving to be a catalyst for the region, and the owners will pursue a LEED rating. And the homeowners are loving the walkability and amenities.
A Day in the Life of Greenbridge

William McDonough Honors R. Buckminster Fuller with a “Deep Dive” at West Coast Green

At West Coast Green in September, William McDonough did something he has long wanted to try: go deep and go long. As a student at Dartmouth, McDonough heard Buckminster Fuller speak for more than three hours, and on September 30 in San Francisco, Bill got his chance. His three-hour “Deep Dive” was well attended and warmly received—the theme was optimism rather than fear. Why not?! Check out this blog from California Home & Design about the talk. Excerpts will be on our web sites and YouTube soon; access to the full recording will also be available.

VMware Corporate Campus Wins Honors

The City of Palo Alto’s Architectural Review Board hands out design awards every five years, and this May, VMware and its design team—William McDonough + Partners and Form4 Architecture—was honored for meeting the design award criteria: be innovative, creative and authentic; enrich the quality of the built environment in Palo Alto; be respectful of the surrounding context and the environment and be well-built, well-detailed and durable.

Relief Housing for Current and Future Disasters
If you have heard William McDonough speak lately, you might have heard him talk about the new “design brief” he is thinking about: design for nine billion. Part of this thinking has us tackling the challenging issues that climate change and natural disaster prompt us to think about. We are investigating ways to innovate solutions for disaster relief and permanent housing for current crises and future resiliency. As part of this effort, David Johnson recently visited Pakistan; he wrote of his visit for Metropolis magazine’s POV blog.

UCSF Breaks Ground
The UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay has broken ground. We are proud of our collaboration with Anshen+Allen (now part of Stantec Architecture), and celebrate our client’s commitment and achievement. According to Cindy Lima, Executive Director of the Mission Bay Hospitals Project, “We are working to create one of the greenest, most healthful Medical Centers in the country—the William McDonough + Partners and MBDC team helped us imagine and pursue what that actually means because of their deep knowledge and experience.”


David Johnson Becomes Partner in the Firm
William McDonough: “I am truly delighted that David Johnson, the experienced architect and strong leader who started our San Francisco office several years ago, has agreed to become a partner in the firm.” David will continue to run the San Francisco studio and work closely leaders throughout the firm.


Diane Dale Inducted into ASLA College of Fellows
Diane Dale, who directs our community design studio, has been elected to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ college of fellows. At the national convention this year, Diane also spoke and picked up anational ASLA award for the Park 20|20 Master Plan, which we completed with Nelson Byrd Woltz, and which is profiled here. You can also read an interview with Diane here.


Pioneer Projects: Ford Rouge Green Roof Thriving!
In 2003, we surprised the industrial world with a 10.5 acre green roof. Years later, it’s thriving. According to on-site experts at Ford, the roof is healthy. Ford’s Sustainable Business Manager Don Russell says: “We performed a couple of comprehensive surveys in 2009 and 2010 to evaluate plant density and species diversity on the Ford roof. Results showed that there were no weeds or grass on the roof, almost total coverage by sedum plants and moss, and of the 13 sedum species in the original mix, currently four are dominant, five species are found infrequently and four others were not observed. We still have the occasional Canada goose nesting there as well as killdeer sightings; the roof continues to be a friendly haven for wildlife. It has been and continues to be a success story.”


Pioneer Projects: Oberlin Turns 10!
Actually, it was nearly 17 years ago when we first started talking with David Orr about what would become the Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College. A great deal has changed, but one thing that has not is Orr’s commitment: The AJLC project has become a catalyst for the college and the community, as a number of efforts under the umbrella of “the Oberlin Project” are under way and recently completed. We are so proud of this client’s vision, the funder’s generosity, and the students’ ingenuity. When the building opened, Steven Litt, architecture critic for the Plain Dealer, said that the center “could be one of the most revolutionary structures of this century, or the next. It’s not so much a building as it is a manifesto in bricks and mortar.” Litt’s soaring comments would be the first of many. Check out this video about the project and how it has changed the people involved with its creation.


Make It Right: The Power of Pro Bono
We are honored that John Cary featured Make It Right in his new book, The Power of Pro Bono (Metropolis Books, 2010).




Recent Events

Bill McDonough recently delivered a keynote address at the Governor’s Global Climate Summit at UC Davis. This was the third Summit hosted by outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and incoming Governor Jerry Brown attended the closing session, at which Schwarzenegger launched his R20 initiative, aimed at empowering subnational governments to work toward meaningful climate change, as California has. R20 — Regions of Climate Action


David Johnson recently attended a GSA event in Chicago. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has been cited Cradle to Cradle in several of her first speeches on the job; she sees the philosophy as an important guidepost for the GSA’s efforts to improve its processes, properties, and procurement.

In August at DesignDC, the conference of the AIA Washington (DC) Chapter, Katherine Grove presented “Inspiring Students to Dream: American University’s School of International Service” with James Thompson of Quinn Evans Architects, our architect of record partners on this DC project.


McDonough to Washington leaders: We need a new design. Last spring, William McDonough gave testimony at a House of Representatives Transportation/HUD appropriations subcommittee hearing on sustainability in practice. Executive Director Tom Darden III spoke about Make It Right, Brad Pitt’s pro bono effort to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward. Bill talked about William McDonough + Partners’ role in Make It Right and about Cradle to Cradle philosophy and practice.


Diane Dale, director of Community Design, presented the firm’s recent Dutch community planning work at the Sustainability in Urban Communities: Exchanging Transatlantic Best Practices seminar at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington DC.



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