What is Cradle to Cradle or C2C Design?

(also see Regenerative Design)

1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:

From Wikipedia: Cradle to Cradle Design™ (also referred to as Cradle to CradleC2Ccradle 2 cradle, or regenerative design) is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems that models human industry on nature’s processes viewing materials as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. The term itself is a play on the popular corporate phrase “Cradle to Grave,” implying that the C2C model is sustainable and considerate of life and future generations (i.e. from the birth, or “cradle,” of one generation to the next versus from birth to death, or “grave,” within the same generation.)

The Cradle to Cradle Design™ and subsequent book suggests that the “reduce reuse recycle” methods perpetuate this cradle-to-grave strategy, and that more changes need to be made.[1] The book discourages downcycling, but rather encourages the manufacture of products with the goal of upcycling in mind.[2] 

2. What is the focus of this Topic?:

From Wikipedia: It is a holistic, economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste free.[2] Building off the whole systems approach of John T. Lyle‘s regenerative design, the model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.

3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?

An important aspect of Architectural Medicine is to recognize the whole picture view in how Architecture and the built environment impacts human, biological and ecological health. In most cases, the interconnections between human, biological and ecological well being cannot be disconnected.

As such, the importance of a design approach that considers the life-cycle of buildings and subsequent products that the built environment is based upon is critical. Cradle to Cradle design emphasizes the importance of how the manufacturing and end use of products impacts human health in all of the many cycles – from production and use, to end of life of the product(s). This viewpoint of the whole cycle can support good health and well being not just as an outcome of the process, yet a main focus of the process itself.  

4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

While Cradle to Cradle Design™ is a licensed trademark of German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough, it’s origins are many, and often credit is given to the whole systems approach of John T. Lyle‘s regenerative design.

Architect William McDonough has been an advocate and voice of sustainable design for several decades now.

5. Resources: