William McDonough and Stanford University Libraries have teamed up to create a comprehensive, real-time approach to archiving the McDonough collections. The Libraries will use the digital components to create a set of open-source archival technologies that will allow creators, archivists and selected contributors to actively collaborate.
The William McDonough Living Archive is a whole new approach to archiving. By archiving in real-time we are able to create a complete picture of McDonough’s work, connections and global impact. Like so much of McDonough’s work, his archive is breaking new ground on how we think about, create, and interact with archives and archival materials.
The traditional archive waits until the subject has passed away before donating their papers leaving the archivists to create a complete picture of the person and their work without the subject’s input. By working with William McDonough to capture as he creates, we are creating a robust archive that will be extremely useful to researchers, scholars and students now and for future generations.
Stanford University Librarian Michael Keller sees the acquisition as
an extraordinary opportunity not only to advance and redefine what an archive can be, but also a chance to engage with William McDonough to explore and document such questions as how the sustainable movement happened, and to examine links between pioneering thinkers such as McDonough and Buckminster Fuller.
Roberto Trujillo, head of the Libraries’ Special Collections, hailed McDonough’s partnership with Stanford as a new kind of “living archive”:
We see the possibility to capture not just the writings and artifacts but the activities and conversations of a designer and thought leader – and the many influential individuals he works with – as they happen. It’s a real-time archive.
A Glimpse into the William McDonough Living Archive
Note: content on this page will change as the archive grows so please check back regularly.
McDonough’s childhood photos have been collected and digitized. This photo shows McDonough as a child holding a camera. He would later study art and photography while attending Dartmouth College and Yale University.
1976: While a graduate student at Yale, William McDonough builds the first experimental solar house in Ireland.
CATALOG OF PROFESSIONAL WORK AND MILESTONES
1989: McDonough’s Warsaw Tower design is on the front-page of The Wall Street Journal and is a cartoon in The New Yorker.
1999: William McDonough is named a “Hero For the Planet” in Time magazine, which states: “[William McDonough’s]…utopianism is grounded, in a unified philosophy that, in demonstrable and practical ways, is changing the design of the world.”
DIGITAL CHRONOFILE OF DAILY ACTIVITIES AND SPEECHES
Visit the William McDonough Live YouTube channel to view additional speeches and recordings.
Read a related article in the Stanford Daily News.
Read the New York Times announcement.