Lawrence F. London, Jr.

Title: McDonough

William A. McDonough


Internationally recognized architect William A. McDonough is the Edward E. Elson Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. In 1996 he became the only individual to receive the nation's highest environmental award: The Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. At the White House ceremony Vice President Al Gore referred to Mr. McDonough as "the mastermind of sustainable design." He is a founding member of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. An advisor to President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, Mr. McDonough was also the lead designer on the "Greening of the White House" project that made environmental recommendations about parts of the White House buildings and grounds complex. In 1992 he and his firm, William McDonough + Partners, wrote the Hannover Principles, a manifesto for environmentally conscious building and design commissioned by the City of Hannover, Germany as the official guide for all design of the World's Fair in 2000.

A magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College, Mr. McDonough received his Master of Architecture degree from Yale University. Prior to his appointment at the University of Virginia in 1994, Mr. McDonough lectured or was a guest critic at many universities including Harvard University and Yale University. He is renowned for the Centennial Sermon given at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine entitled, "Design, Ecology, Ethics and the Making of Things."

Mr. McDonough's architectural firm has been the leader in the architectural community for designs that combine aesthetic appeal with ecology such as Wal-Mart's Eco-Mart prototype in Lawrence, Kansas, the Herman Miller Factory in Zeeland, Michigan, and a competition winning design for a daycare center in Frankfurt, Germany, that through its design teaches children about natural rhythms of the environment. His firm also won a design competition for the Gap Corporate campus in San Bruno, California which will be built in 1996.

He brings this expertise with him to the University and has set an ambitious agenda to make the School of Architecture a laboratory for the exploration of ecological design principles. The School has plans to establish an Institute for Sustainable Design in order to make the University of Virginia a leader in environmental problem-solving at the largest and smaller scales. A highly sought-after consultant and lecturer, Mr. McDonough is an adviser to the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on sustainable communities. He serves on professional boards throughout the United States. Mr. McDonough is a board member of Second Nature and and advisor to The Heinz Endowments, The Natural Step, US, the Council on Economic Priorities and Green Seal. From 1993 until 1996 he served as a member of the board of trustees of the W. Alton Jones Foundation and as a juror for the prestigious Heinz Awards.


"Many definitions of sustainability debated around the world may represent only the delicate line between degradation and enhancement. Because of this, the concept, as presently perceived, may be somewhat impoverished. Our precept imagines that we should be able to enjoy far brighter prospects than mere maintenance. This is, therefore, not an "efficiency" agenda; it does not ask us to imagine we are presently guilty of waste which we must reduce in order to feel better. Instead it asks us to imagine a world full of hope and promise, to measure our positive progress and celebrate the fecundity of our creative imaginations. As designers signaling our intentions in a world perceived to be reaching its critical limits we are asking not how few songbirds we will leave in the world for our children to enjoy, but how many."


The Nine Hannover Principles
William McDonough. html

Design, Ecology, Ethics and the Making of Things
A Centennial Sermon delivered by William McDonough at
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on 7 February 1993.

The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability
William McDonough. postscript, 508Kb


Institute for Sustainable Design

Inside UVA:

Interiors and Sources: May '95 Cover

Audubon September-October 1995