American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

For renowned architect William McDonough, the element carbon is not the enemy, but rather “the currency of photosynthesis, a source of Earth’s capacity for regeneration.” Global warming is a design failure, not an environmental one, says McDonough. And he encourages the Build Community to “design with the natural cycle in mind to ensure that carbon ends up in the right places.”

In a recently published opinion piece entitled, “Carbon is not the Enemy,” McDonough said,

  • “After 30 years of designing sustainable buildings and landscapes that manage carbon, I believe it is time to breathe new life into the carbon conversation. Rather than declare war on carbon emissions, we can work with carbon in all its forms.
  • To enable a new relationship with carbon, I propose a new language — living, durable and fugitive — to define ways in which carbon can be used safely, productively and profitably. Aspirational and clear, it signals positive intentions, enjoining us to do more good, rather than simply be less bad.”

William McDonough + Partners has studios in Charlottesville, Virginia and San Francisco, California. To learn more about their design approach, visit


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