The night his firm was honored with the General Services Administration's 2010 Presidential Award for its NASA Sustainability project, William McDonough gave a presentation to a small audience for the Townhall Foundation at Laguna Art Museum.
McDonough and his partner chemist Michael Braungart are co-authors of the 2002 book "From Cradle to Cradle," about a new industrial revolution free of waste where goods generate ecological, social and economic value.
McDonough said he models his design work on a "cradle-to-cradle" cycle from the molecule to the building. Rather than seeing materials as a waste problem, as happens in a "cradle-to-grave" system, all material in his designs are part of a closed loop of nutrients that are part of the cycle of nature. As such, nature becomes a model, a mentor for the design process, where everything becomes something else and there is no waste.