William McDonough

The Monticello Dialogues, Part 1 – Democratic Design with William McDonough


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From the lineage of Thomas Jefferson and Buckminster Fuller emerges another brilliant prophet of the possible.  Architect William McDonough is carrying the banner of “anticipatory design science” to this generation, and he is waving it in the boardrooms of some of the largest global corporations.  The buildings, product innovations and ideas emerging from his team are at the forefront of what he calls “the next industrial revolution.”  It is a revolution so profound that it views humans as tools of nature.  The central question that drives McDonough’s work is: “How can we best serve all the children of all species, for all time?”

William McDonough is former Dean of the Architecture Department at the University of Virginia, Time magazine named McDonough a “Hero for the Planet” in 1999, and he is the winner of three U.S. presidential awards including the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development.  He is the author with his partner, Michael Braungart, of the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (Farrar, Straus and Geroux 2002).  In this, part 1, of the six-part special series recorded at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, McDonough offers a fresh path out of the history of mindless timefullness.

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • How growing up in Hong Kong, Japan and the Yukon affected McDonough’s world view
  • How the positive effects of dialogue causes a fierce commotion
  • Why we should abandon eco-efficiency for eco-effectiveness
  • How tire dust could be transformed into food for soil
  • Why Thomas Jefferson can be viewed as an exemplar of sustaining agriculture and of the art of dialogue

Program Number: 2900      Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 5/17/2001


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