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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Leader in "green" design to mold URI’s
environmental neighborhood

Architect Will McDonough to speak Mar. 26

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 15, 2002 -- From Time.Com; Hero of the PlanetArchitect and designer William McDonough has helped launch a revolution in product and building design by incorporating environmental sensitivities into the design of everything from sneakers to office buildings. Now he’s turning his attention to creating an environmental neighborhood in the northern portion of the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus.

McDonough and a team of campus planners, transportation experts, and environmental designers have been meeting with URI students, faculty and officials to seek input into a long-term plan to turn the north quadrant of campus into a demonstration of sustainable development and environmental design.

Named a "Hero of the Planet" by Time magazine, McDonough will speak about sustainable design in a lecture outlining "The Next Industrial Revolution" on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center. The event is free and open to the public.

McDonough and his design team will also meet with the campus community on March 27 to present preliminary plans for the environmental neighborhood.

"Development of an environmental neighborhood is one step toward creating a ‘green’ campus and enhancing the image of URI as a leader in environmental research, education, and outreach," said Jeffrey Seemann, dean of the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences and chairman of the URI Sustainable Initiatives Team. "We want to create a campus in which people, buildings, infrastructure, the landscape, and underlying natural systems are integrated and function in a sustainable way."

The environmental neighborhood will be bordered by Flagg Road, Upper College Road, Heathman Road and Alumni Avenue. Buildings, landscapes and roads in the area will be redesigned or retrofitted to ensure that resources are used efficiently and natural areas are restored and protected. The neighborhood plan includes three new buildings, including the Center for Design, Planning and Policy that will showcase the latest in sustainable materials and technologies.

"The Center will be an icon to sustainability," Seemann said. Still in the planning stages, the building will likely house offices, labs, classrooms and exhibits. It will be open to the public for tours, events and demonstrations.

Funding for the preliminary design of the Center for Design, Planning and Policy and the environmental neighborhood came from a $925,000 federal appropriation in 1999 with the support of then-Congressman Robert Weygand, who was the co-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus on Livable Communities Task Force.

McDonough is the founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, Architects and Planners, an internationally recognized design firm practicing ecologically, socially, and economically intelligent architecture and planning. The firm has been a leader in the sustainable development movement since 1977, recently completing award-winning projects for The Gap, Nike, and Oberlin College. The firm won the Business Week/Architectural Record "Good Design is Good Business" award for large commercial projects in 1997 and 1998.

He is also co-founder and principal, with German chemist Michael Braungart, of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, a product and systems development firm assisting prominent companies in implementing a science-based sustainable design protocol. Current projects include development of apparel and footwear products with Nike, personal care products with Unilever, furniture with Herman Miller, fabrics with Steelcase, and transportation-related products with Ford Motor Company.

McDonough is also a professor of architecture and a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, and he is the A. D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. McDonough is chairman of Second Nature, a Boston–based nonprofit organization promoting the teaching of sustainability in higher education. He also serves as U.S. chairman of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development, recently formed by the two countries to share the best strategies for sustainability.

McDonough’s leadership in sustainable development is recognized widely, both in the United States and internationally. He was honored in 1996 with the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation’s highest environmental honor, presented by President Clinton in a White House ceremony.

For more information about the lecture, call Lorraine Keeney at 874-4947.

For Information: Todd McLeish 874-7892

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