by Jim Patterson
Renowned architect William McDonough, a leader in the movement for sustainable architecture and product design, will speak at Vanderbilt on Sept. 26.
McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, will speak at 7 p.m. at Benton Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
“McDonough is the leading voice on how we as a society can grow in ways that are both environmentally sound and economically profitable,” said John Wallace, co-founder of the Tennessee Fund for Sustainability, a sponsor of the lecture along with the Middle Tennessee Regional Environmental Forum, the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture at Vanderbilt’s project on ecology and spirituality in America, and the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies. “He is not only talking about how we can change the world, he is actually doing it, working with governments and companies all over the world,” Wallace said.
McDonough’s credits include building the first solar-heated house in Ireland in 1977 and designing the first “green office” in the United States for the Environmental Defense Fund in 1985. He was named Time magazine’s “Hero for the Planet” in 1999, but as The Washington Post noted, his “pro-growth, capitalist optimism has made McDonough palatable to business.” Ford Motor Company, IBM, Gap Inc. and Wal-Mart have invested millions in his manufacturing and headquarters designs, while recouping millions more in compliance costs, environmental cleanup and worker productivity.
“William McDonough is a true visionary and his practical approach to sustainability is changing the way both the public and private sectors approach this critical issue,” said Paul Sloan, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and founder of the Middle Tennessee Regional Environmental Forum.
Vanderbilt has already made a commitment to “green building” as promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. New buildings on campus are designed with care for energy conservation, water efficiency and use of building materials that limit the emission of volatile organic compound gases, which can cause health problems.
“We are excited to bring William McDonough to Vanderbilt and to the local community,” said Mark Cohen, co-director of the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies. “McDonough’s vision goes beyond the academic realm. He has also taught business and government to grow in an economically sound yet sustainable way.”
For more information, visit www.tnfund.org.