William McDonough + Partners is a collaborative, principles-driven design firm that sees the unique characteristics of each place and project as a source of inspiration and innovation. The foundational principles we bring to each project derive from our vision of the future: a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world—with clean air, soil, water and power—economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed.
As designers, we promote a positive vision of the future, based upon the belief that many of the environmental problems we face are, at root, design challenges.
Our work is grounded in the Cradle to Cradle® philosophy developed by our founder William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart in their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (North Point Press). Cradle to Cradle encourages us to step back from the routines of daily problem-solving and rethink the frame conditions that shape our designs. Rather than seeking to minimize the harm we inflict, Cradle to Cradle reframes design as a beneficial, regenerative force—one that seeks to create ecological footprints to delight in, not lament. It expands the definition of design quality to include positive effects on economic, ecological and social health in addition to the traditional architectural standards of commodity, firmness and delight.
Cradle to Cradle rejects the idea that growth is detrimental to environmental health; after all, in nature, growth is good. Instead, it promotes the idea that good design supports a rich human experience with all that entails—fun, beauty, enjoyment, inspiration and poetry—and still encourages environmental health and abundance.
Our studio culture is open, team-oriented and collaborative. We are connected by a shared passion for the firm’s mission and inspired by new and challenging assignments. Each studio is an open environment, filled with daylight, fresh air and healthy materials. We promote community through office-wide pin-ups, knowledge shares, green friday seminars, and frequent video-conferencing and traveling between studios. In addition, staff actively engage in their local communities as well as in the broader world of sustainability and design.