The Hannover Principles

ImageExpo 2000, a World Fair, was held in the City of Hannover, Germany

In 1992 William McDonough Architects prepared a document called The Hannover Principles Design for Sustainability, to act as a brief for the international pavilions at Expo 2000. In satisfying the brief the beauty of the resulting buildings, done by many of the world's leading architects, put to rest the criticism that Green Architecture too often did not delight the mind and the eye as well as the human spirit.


To assist those who cannot find a copy I have reproduced the Principles below. However you should also refer to the book which explains the Principles in greater detail.

1 Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist

in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.

Recognise interdependence.

The elements of human design interact with a depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Explore design considerations to recognise even distant effects.

Respect relationships between spirit and matter.

Consider all aspects of human settlement including community, dwelling, industry and trade in terms of existing an evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.4  Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems and their right to coexist.

Create safe objects of long term value.

Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance or vigilant administration of potential danger due to careless creation of products, processes or standards.

Eliminate the concept of waste.

Evaluate and optimise the full life cycle of products and processes, to approach the state of natural ecosystems, in which there is no waste.

Rely on natural energy flows.

Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative forces from perpetual solar income. Incorporate this energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.

Understand the limitations of design.

No human creation lasts forever and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not as an inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.

Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge.

Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long term sustainable considerations with the ethic of responsibility, and re-establish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

The Hannover Principles should be seen as a living document committed to the transformation and growth in the understanding of our interdependence with nature, so that they may adapt as our knowledge of the world evolves.