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Natural Design

Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

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Natural Design

Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

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