Spring 2008

Kevin Burke, Partner and Director of Practice

If any one statement captures The Netherlands’ embrace of Cradle to Cradle,”Let’s Cradle” is it. This phrase, synonymous with the name of a design conference in Maastricht in the fall of 2007, is a positive call to action in the one country that appears uniquely prepared to pursue a Cradle to Cradle transformation in how we make buildings and design cities. Michael Braungart, co-author of Cradle to Cradle with my partner Bill McDonough, has noted that the Dutch readily internalize the philosophy because they “have never romanticized nature,” while working throughout their history to integrate natural forces into their cultural fabric.

The Cradle to Cradle design assignment for architects and planners is to create structures and infrastructures that make more energy than they need to operate, cleanse water and waste for reuse, and celebrate the abundance of daylight, fresh air, and connectivity to the natural world. In addition, these designs weave into their very fabric, indicators of how materials and systems can be recaptured and up-cycled for reuse or returned to the earth safely. The singular challenge for an architectural practice pursuing Cradle to Cradle is the re-design of the practice itself, in alignment with Einstein’s belief that no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. Conventional design processes and project delivery methods no longer apply, and the ability to embrace change is paramount.

We at William McDonough + Partners have found a kindred spirit in The Netherlands, just as we are responding to the overwhelming interest in Cradle to Cradle. KOW, a firm with which we are collaborating, has assembled a diverse group of design leaders who are building upon the firm’s legacy of technical creativity, innovation, and design diversity. Our first design assignment together is for Park 20/20, where The Delta Development Group has an ambitious vision of a fully integrated working community designed according to Cradle to Cradle thinking. The challenge is to execute at the highest levels of Cradle to Cradle design ambition, while creating a practical, economically viable, and elegant community.

This View is an excerpt of Kevin Burke’s foreword to a forthcoming KOW book.

Taking a Building from User to Producer

Architecture projects are not “over” at occupancy, of course. We are lucky to have several clients whose own missions include a dedication to documenting the performance and effectiveness of their facilities over time. One of these is Woods Hole Research Center, which was featured in the Winter 2008 issue of the Journal of Green Building, in “Walking the Talk and Walking the Walk at the Woods Hole Research Center: Design and Performance of an Award-Winning Green Headquarters.” Authors Joe Hackler and Dr. John Holdren of the research center write: “Achieving excellent building performance is of paramount importance if major reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are to be achieved with solar and wind installations of reasonable size and cost. WHRC’s experience with the Ordway campus is a compelling example of how this can be done in a building that is comfortable, functional, and beautiful. It enables us to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talking the talk’ on the subject of environmental sustainability that is at the core of the Center’s research, policy engagement, and educational efforts.”

ULI Features Projects
The Urban Land Institute’s Multi-Family Trends magazine recently covered Greenbridge, the mixed use project under construction in Chapel Hill. Urban Land Green had a comprehensive piece about efforts of the China-U.S. Center, including a focus on the conceptual planning work of the firm, by Diane Dale, Director of our community design studio.


In April, Brian Nee joined the San Francisco studio. Brian is a registered Architect, a LEED AP and has eight years of experience. Recently he was with Studios Architecture in San Francisco, where he wore several hats on a diverse array of projects, including academic, institutional, commercial and residential full-service projects. Brian was the job captain for UC-Berkeley’s Campbell Hall, a new classroom/lab building for the astronomy and physics departments, and the project architect for the UC-Bakersfield’s new math and computer science building. Brian graduated from the University of Texas-Austin. He grew up in Dallas and has lived in the Bay Area since college; he enjoys hiking, backpacking, and surfing, among other outdoor activities.

Steven Johnson will be joining the Charlottesville studio this summer as an intern. Steven is an undergraduate at the University of Virginia (where he studied with Jose Atienza). Steven was a part of the Grow: DC team with Future Cities Lab, DIRT Studio, and William Morrish, one of the finalists for the History Channel’s City of the Future Design Competition. Steven is the design director for Wide Awake Productions and program director and volunteer for the Housing Improvement Program, which works with Habitat for Humanity.

Ryan McEnroe has rejoined the Charlottesville studio; he’s pursuing a dual master’s degree in architecture and landscape architecture at UVA. In July, he will take part in the Glenn Murcutt Master Class in Sydney, Australia, and continue his travels studying work written about by landscape architect Catherin Bull in her book New Conversations with an Old Landscape. Ryan continues to represent the American Institute of Architecture Students on the National Architecture Accrediting Board.

Greg Linski recently joined the Charlottesville studio as an office runner. He is currenty an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Greg attended high school at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology where he participated in extracurricular activities including tennis, track, and cross country. Greg is highly interested in film making and has participated in a number of university sponsored film productions over the past four years.


Kevin Burke will speak about the Cradle to Cradle challenge for architecture and community design next month in Amsterdam at Provada, which is The Netherlands’ premier real estate conference.

Kira Gould, Director of Communications, will keynote the Apeiron Institute’s Sustainable Living Festival & Clean Energy Expo in Providence on June 8.

Dave Johnson, Matthew Winkelstein, and Jeff Till, directors in our San Francisco studio, will teach a studio course next winter at Stanford University’s Architectural Design Program in the school’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


After Bill McDonough was profiled in the May issue of Vanity Fair, Tom Brokaw moderated a Vanity Fair Forum in New York; Bill McDonough was joined on the panel by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx.

Kristin Cory, Project Manager, served as a guest critic on four review juries at the University of Texas-Austin School of Architecture. The firm has long supported UT’s distinguished residency program and continues to support the involvement of our own leaders in architecture education in many capacities.

Kevin Burke served on a panel at the Design Colloquium in San Francisco in April about Design-First Firms. The Colloquium was organized by Breuer Consulting Group and the Cameron MacAllister Group.

Kathy Grove, Director, presented Make It Right with Tulane professor and neighborhood leader Charles Allen III at the National Association of Home Builders green building conference in New Orleans this month.

Jeff Till spoke at the Bay Area Council’s Outlook Conference in April, as part of a panel–Global Warming: The Most Interesting Companies Rising to the Challenge–that included Peter Liu of the New Resource Bank and Richard Swanson of SunPower.

Roger Schickedantz, Director, recently attended the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities conference in Baltimore and participated in the test preparation for the new Accredited Green Roof Professional exam; Roger has been active with this group for some time. Two William McDonough+Partners projects–Ford Rouge and 901 Cherry Corporate Office–are represented in the new book Award Winning Green Roof Design, authored by Steven Peck and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

Lance Hosey, Director, served on the Next Generation design awards jury for Metropolismagazine. A design for a Solar Water Disinfecting Tarpaulin earned architect Eric Olson the $10,000 prize.

Last month, Bill McDonough talked about William McDonough+Partners work on Studio 360, as part of the show’s “Creative Minds Go Green” series. Bill also spoke at the EPA Science Forum on May 20, and was recognized with an award from the EPA.

At the Artists for Humanity’s EpiCenter in Boston, Kira Gould joined AIA Committee on the Environment chair Henry Siegel, FAIA, in announcing the COTE Top Ten Green Projects at the COTE Celebration and Top Ten Toast on May 15, as part of the AIA Convention.