Cradle to Cradle

The Cradle to Cradle design protocol is a new way of looking at design that balances environment with human need. Created by Architect Wm McDonough and Chemist Michael Braungartand explained in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

To this point our civilization has operated on a cradle to grave paradigm. Make it, use it, and throw it away. As our world population passes 6.4 billion souls and the demand for land and resources increases, we see a need to create a system of human support that mimics nature. That blesses the world. In natural cycles waste becomes food. Nothing is lost. McDonough and Braungart posit the creation of technical cycles that mimic biological cycles. Where technological products are completely recycled, (not down cycled like newsprint and plastic bottles). To manufacture goods with their reuse in mind. Not to create what McDonough and Braungart call “Monstrous Hybrids:” toxic products melded together so tightly that they can not be separated for reuse.

Here are three additional websites that help to explain their thinking.

GreenBlue gives a thorough overview of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy.

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry: offers product and process research to manufacturers.


The City of Roanoke, Virginia is sponsoring an exciting design completion. They are looking for single family residential buildings to be constructed according to the Cradle to Cradle protocol. The City is committed to constructing 20 homes breaking ground in spring 2005. Look for Swainhart Construction Services to have a strong entry.