Quote of the Day: William McDonough on Design Humility


How sophisticated are we as designers? If we think about humility and design, it is unfortunate that the word humble and the word architect have not appeared together since The Fountainhead.

But, I think if anybody here has trouble with the concepts of design humility; just reflect on the fact that it took us 5,000 years to put wheels on our luggage. We are not that smart. And we have a big job ahead of us here.Well, how we get to do these things, and things like the largest green rose in the world, and buildings that are starting to act like living things like trees? Imagine the design that makes all oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, provides habitat for hundreds of species, accrues solar energies as fuel, makes complex sugars in food, and creates microclimates and self-replicates.

How many of our buildings have made oxygen lately? So the goal as a human artifice would connect itself once again with the natural world and it would become a propitious and productive, meaningful part of it."

—William McDonough, speaking at the working session on accelerating green building, at the Clinton Global Initiative, 27 Sept. 2007