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Celebrating 40 Years of Design!

McKinney York Architects is pleased to announce our 40th anniversary!

Architecture, by its very nature, is a collaborative process. We actively seek the perspective of the communities we serve to create more authentic designs. This integrated, empathetic approach allows us all to experience the built environment with a sense of engagement, inspiration, and belonging. In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice.


headshot of Michelle Rossomando

“This anniversary celebration is a testament of gratitude to our clients, consultants, trade partners, and local artists and artisans for contributions to concept-driven design over the past 40 years. We look forward to future successful collaborations continuing for decades to come.”

– Michelle Rossomando, AIA, RID, President and Principal


straight on view of stairway that also functions as a social gathering space in elementary school, books are displayed on the levels and children and teachers are in the foreground

Austin ISD Sánchez Elementary School View Project


We create spaces that belong to people through mindful placemaking, identity, and connection.

headshot of Brian Carlson

“As architects we are tasked with meeting the needs of our clients, but we also have a calling to respond to the wider community. We are continually in a posture of listening and learning to create a sense of belonging for those who experience our work, and have found that a project receives its vitality through the contributions of everyone involved – the clients, the users, the community, and members of the design team.”

– Brian Carlson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal


The Montopolis Recreation and Community Center is the centerpiece of the community serving as a central gathering and activity space, and a gateway to the Montopolis neighborhood. Through its materiality and reserved integration into the site, the design reflects the relaxed, unpretentious attitude the neighborhood sought, while providing connectivity and identity through communal spaces such as the gym, multipurpose rooms, and boxing center.

upstairs lobby with view of railings in foreground, building's front windows to the left, and exercise room with boxing punching bags to the right

Montopolis Recreation and Community Center View Project


We create places that inspire people to do and be better through optimistic, thoughtful architecture.

headshot of Al York

“Most of our lives are spent within and around a built environment that shapes our lives and colors our thoughts and feelings. It seems to me that architects have an obligation to elevate that experience. We endeavor to create architecture that lifts and transforms lives by inspiring big ideas and bold actions, or quiet contemplation and simple wonder.”

– Al York, FAIA, RID, Principal


The McGarrah Jessee, an iconic building in downtown Austin exemplifying mid-century architecture, is home to the award-winning advertising and brand development agency. The renovation breathes new life to the building while delicately balancing historic preservation with a level of creative innovation that pairs with its occupant.

image of McGarrah Jessee building looking into red tunnel entrance opening to stairs and escalators towards geometric mural on back wall

McGarrah Jessee Building View Project


We create places that engage people by inviting thought, stirring emotions, and awakening senses.

headshot of Will Wood

“One of our responsibilities as designers of the built environment is to engage our clients and the people that may experience our work. At the most ambitious level, we do that by developing concepts in each of our projects. Through careful planning, we hope our design decisions feel as though they are self-evident, ultimately creating opportunities for that engagement to occur.”

– Will Wood, AIA, RID, Principal


The Rox, Duke, and Danay Covert Admissions Welcome Center is the “front door” for prospective students at the University of Texas at Austin, designed to entertain, educate, and engage visitors while sharing the energy, sprit, and possibilities of the university.

image of Welcome Center at the University of Texas at Austin, wood slat panel wall with longhorn logo detail

Admissions Welcome Center View Project


Over the last four decades, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on hundreds of projects, each rooted in our desire to connect people to each other and the world round them by creating architecture that engages, inspires, and belongs.

headshot of Heather McKinney

“We believe our work is better when all voices are heard, and we are deeply committed to improving the built environment through inclusive and sustainable design. As we look ahead to the next decades and our continued growth in central Texas, we remain committed to our mission to create architecture that resonates across the full breadth of people’s humanity – their minds, their hearts, and their senses.”

– Heather McKinney, FAIA, RID, Founder


residence exterior at dusk with lighted interior looking through glass windows into foyer with winding stair

Winter Park Residence View Project

You can explore the studio to gain insight into our design philosophy and approach, or see our ideas come to life by viewing our work.

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McKinney York Architects

We believe that the best architecture engages people across the full breadth of their humanity – their minds, their hearts, and their senses.

By inviting a cool breeze, a warm memory, or a curious thought, our architecture strives to create a conversation. More than a passing ‘hello, how ya’ doing’ it asks you to ‘sit down and stay a while’. Maybe the conversation starts off about the weather, but for those who have the time and inclination, the chat can grow deeper and more intriguing. By embedding our architecture with strong concepts, we aim to provoke engaging exchanges about ideas, to touch people’s spirit, and heighten people’s perception of themselves and the world around them.

Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” He could not have been more on point, so we endeavor to create architecture that lifts the spirit and transforms lives by inspiring people to become their better selves. We work to make places that encourage people to think more deeply, act more boldly and work more effectively; places that motivate people to connect with compassion; and places that invite quiet contemplation or evoke the joy of simple wonder.

The desire to belong is a fundamental human need and buildings structure our relationships to each other, the communities in which we live, and to the natural world around us. They can pull us apart or draw us together. Like us, everything we build is connected to something larger. When mindfully orchestrated, architecture can foster a sense of belonging and draw people together – whether as a family, a neighborhood, a workplace, a campus, a city, or a community of ideas.

  • Engage We create places that engage people by inviting thought, stirring emotions, and awakening senses.
  • Inspire We create optimistic architecture that inspires people to do and be better.
  • Belong We create places where people can belong.


Our mission to engage, inspire, and belong influences our approach to practice in the following ways:


Within the McKinney York studio, we practice concept-driven design. This means we develop a foundational concept for every project that becomes an axiom from which design decisions are made.

Concepts vary greatly from one project to another, and we do not place boundaries on what a concept might include or convey. However, a successful concept should be compelling — a common vision with our clients.

Good concepts do not need to be groundbreaking. The most profound results often arise by allowing a concept to inform the simplest aspects of a project, including the ways in which it is experienced and perceived. In the end, we hope a project’s concept is a natural interpretation of our collaborative design process and feels like it was inevitable.

Valid concepts must be able to give direction for design decisions like form and organization while accommodating a project’s practical requirements, but they do not need to be so specific that they produce immediate answers. Exploration will guide the design process.

The interior of an eyewear store.


The act of design is an exploration of a concept and the way it is represented in a building or project. From the planning stages through construction, the recurring questions we ask ourselves are “Is the concept compelling?”, “Does the concept represent the aspirations of our client?”, “Does the design execution creatively reflect the concept?”, and “Should we remove elements that do not advance the concept?”

It should be expected that thoughtful concept-driven design will lead to unique and unanticipated results. In fact, questioning conventions and traditions is a great way to start the design process.

Most of the architecture we admire were likely unconventional at their time. However, their endurance is not because of this, but almost certainly because they faithfully represented compelling ideas and concepts. We humbly aspire to do the same.

Escalators leading up to center of office building.


Sustainability plays multiple roles within the framework of concept-driven design. As an idea, it informs the conceptual basis of our projects. Health, clean air, longevity, and protecting the natural world are ideas that permeate our work.

As a practical concern, it is used to inspire and test the validity of concepts and design strategies. Sustainability goals influence and bring richness to the decision-making process.

As technical criteria, it provides guidance for evaluating the success of our projects. Operational carbon, embodied carbon, indoor air quality, and resilience are several of our most critical concerns.

In solidarity with these concerns, McKinney York is a signatory firm for both the AIA 2030 Commitment and the AIA Materials Pledge.

Large recreational building with 3D letters that read

Our Team

Michelle Rossomando, AIA, RID Principal

Michelle believes in the constant improvement of everything. She brings to the table a tenacious focus on creative design through every stage of every project. Complexities and limitations are not allowed to impact a project negatively, and the search for design opportunities is perpetual. Inside the studio, she constantly evaluates roles and responsibilities, adjusting them to solve problems and match the strengths and desires of every individual. Michelle places particular importance on creating a communicative and collaborative work environment.

“I cannot recall anyone with as much enthusiasm and dedication to her profession as I experienced with Michelle on our church project. I am reminded of her dedication every time I step onto our campus.” – Barbara Ruth, Oak Hill United Methodist Church

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Master of Architecture
  • Tufts University — Bachelor of Science, cum laude
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, Design Awards Chair 2003-2004
  • Texas Society of Architects
  • YouthLaunch, Board Member

Al York, FAIA, RID Principal

Al is a creative thinker with a knack for disentangling the most inscrutable problems. With our clients, as well as inside the studio, he plays a special leadership role for the firm – the person able to shift a conversation, reconcile differing viewpoints, or ask the right question at the right time to keep a project moving forward. In addition to his thorough understanding of the technical aspects of architectural practice, Al came to the firm with a background in teaching, having received multiple honors for his work at Texas Tech College of Architecture. Al believes in a rigorous formal design approach capable of underpinning an aesthetic flexibility.

“Al’s three-dimensional waterproofing details… I was amazed… I’ve never seen one again on any other project other than a McKinney York project… amazing.” – Carm Tassone, Harvey-Cleary

  • Education
  • Cornell University — Master of Architecture
  • Auburn University — Bachelor of Architecture, magna cum laude
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, President 2005, Design Awards Chair 2000-2001
  • Texas Society of Architects

Brian Carlson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Principal

Brian has brought a honed design eye and extraordinary client service to a range of high-profile, award-winning projects over his tenure with the firm. He is an avid and informed gardener, and is sensitive to orienting buildings within a landscape in a way that anchors them to their environment. Brian’s project leadership enriches our design collaborations with clients; they value his thoughtful responses to their needs and appreciate the clarity, comfort, and character his designs afford.

“We worked closely with our project manager, Brian Carlson… We were continually pleased by his ability to carefully listen to our needs and respond with innovative design solutions that surpassed our expectations.” – Owner, Robbs Run House

Gardening, cooking

Who was your most valued mentor?
It would have to be my high school art teacher, Eileen Montgomery. She challenged me to think conceptually about what I create.

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Architecture
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, Design Awards Chair 2007-2008, Awards Commissioner 2009
  • Texas Society of Architects
  • Octopus Club

Will Wood, AIA, RID Principal

As a graduate of both the Architecture and Engineering schools at the University of Texas, Will brings a unique design perspective to the firm.  He is an advocate for modern building practices and energy efficiency focused in reconciling those obstacles with elegant solutions. In the studio, he leads an ongoing charge to develop and refine our production standards and processes. Will is also interested in materiality and detailing and how they inform design through all phases of a project.

Photography, travel, cooking, building science

What is your favorite quotation?
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Architecture
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Science, Architectural Engineering
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, Communications Committee Chair 2009
  • Texas Society of Architects
  • BEC Austin, Board Member 2014-present

Heather H. McKinney, FAIA, RID Founder

Heather is a guiding force behind the firm’s design voice. Her ability to listen critically has shaped our collaborative design process, and her skill at teasing out the underlying and unspoken needs of clients is a substantial factor in our projects’ success. Relying on her depth of experience, she offers insight and wisdom to all of our projects. In addition to her design contributions, she has devoted herself to cultivating the architectural profession through years of service on boards, commissions, and panels both locally and around the country.

“As a teacher, I am delighted by what her work affords – guidance for my students who are hungry for inspirational examples.” – Andrew Vernooy, AIA, Dean Texas Tech University College of Architecture

  • Education
  • University of Pennsylvania — Master of Architecture
  • Stanford University — Bachelor of Arts, Mechanical Engineering
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, President 1993
  • Texas Society of Architects, President 2010

Aaron Taylor, AIA Associate

Aaron is drawn to the cause without a champion. In architecture, that may be a project with a modest budget, a building that contributes to the fabric of the city rather than its monuments, or simply an unconventional design concept that deserves exploration. His interest in architectural history and theory infuse his work with a sensitivity towards context and precedent. His experience includes a range of work on educational buildings, science centers, museums, mixed-use developments, and private and institutional master planning.

“Thank you for your efforts to date on our project. The congregation at large is very excited about the expansion and looks forward to a beautiful and functional facility addition.”  – Michael Delamore, Trinity Episcopal Church

  • Education
  • Yale University — Master of Architecture II, cum laude
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Architecture, summa cum laude
  • Associations
  • AIA Austin, Design Awards Committee Member 2012-present
  • Texas Society of Architects

Ginger Bradfield Associate, Financial Manager

Ginger is the business anchor for the firm. She is integral to our contract preparation and management processes and she manages the firms accounting. Her previous experience in the fast-paced construction industry helps her identify and evaluate ways to run our business better, freeing our architecture team to fully invest their energy into their projects. She’s a stickler for details with the sharp mind and calm demeanor of an old-school accountant.

Scuba diving, running, strength training, gardening, NFL

What is your favorite quotation?
“If you argue for your limitations you get to keep them.”

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?
Fitness, gardening, being outdoors

What are you good at?
Finances, numbers, analyzing, projecting

  • Education
  • University of Maryland University College — Bachelor of Science, Accounting, cum laude

Ko Kuwabara, AIA, LEED AP Associate

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?
I would scavenge for old and unloved motorcycles, restore them, and find new homes for them.

What is a random fact about yourself?
I am an identical twin, like Tadao Ando.

What is your favorite place?
Teshima Art Museum by Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. It is a simple, semi-enclosed concrete structure where you quietly observe drops of water move across the floor. This may sound a bit odd, but it is a powerful experience, I promise!

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Master of Architecture
  • University of Virginia — Bachelor of Science, Architecture
  • Associations
  • RBI Austin (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Austin), 2016 Mentor
  • Architecture for Humanity, Baltimore Chapter, Co-founder 2010-2013

Andrew Green, AIA Associate

Sculpture, woodworking

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?
Looking for ways to bottle and distribute the endless supply of energy and joy my son seems to be tapped into.

What is your ideal project?
A monument, memorial or large scale public art project

What architects and artists do you find inspiring?
Maya Lin, Renzo Piano, Martin Puryear, James Turrell, Richard Serra, Santiago Calatrava, Michael Heizer, Constantin Brancusi, Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Drury, Robert Smithson

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Master of Architecture
  • Baylor University — Bachelor of Art, Studio Art, magna cum laude
  • Associations
  • Texas Sculpture Group, 2011-present

Patricia Hunt, AIA, RID, LEED AP Associate

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?
Making things! I feel it’s sort of a dying art. It’s always exciting to have a new project, see it progress, and then enjoy the satisfaction of a completed product! I knit, crochet, bead, sew, cross stitch… the list goes on.

What was your favorite project and why?
The Forsyth County Animal Control in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a fun, challenging project, and it was very fulfilling knowing the animals would have a much better chance of being adopted in the new facility than the old, dark, dank one. I left the dedication ceremony with my kitty, Zelda (who I am still lucky to have 12 years later!).

What is your favorite place?
In terms of architecture? Columbus, Indiana. It seems largely unknown but is teeming with wonderful architecture. For fun? Rome. There’s no end to the things to do and see. It’s amazing to consider its age and how long structures have been there in comparison with the United States.

  • Education
  • Texas Tech University — Master of Architecture

Molly Hubbs, AIA Associate

Biking, Woodworking, Lindy Hop, Bowling, British/Swedish murder mysteries, On the Media (Radio)

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?
Discovering Texas swimming holes

What is your favorite type of building?
Buildings that celebrate the craft of construction

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Master of Architecture
  • Fuman University — Bachelor of Arts, Music

Kennedy Colombo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

What is your favorite quotation?

“Be Kind, for everyone if fighting a difficult battle”  – Epictetus

Who was your most valued mentor and why?

Sandra Bull, a High School Librarian and my boss when I had a grad school librarian job. She was kind, and encouraging. I was deeply impressed by her ability to be present in the moment to whoever she was with.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

Grace Bible Church in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. Great Client who wanted to fit into their context and willing to let us explore design options that brought light and warmth to their spaces.  Also worked with a great contractor who was a true problem-solving partner.

What is your favorite place? Or building? Or Architect? And why?

A couple favorite places – The Pearl on the river in San Antonio; So thoughtfully crafted from an enchanting mix of human scaled materials and landscaped forms . Wonderfully intimate pedestrian-scaled spatial forms and experiences that invite exploration and surprise. Reminds me of the equally enchanting Piazza San Marco, Venice.

San Francisco de Asis church, Taos. 300-year-old adobe church with fantastic rounded earthen forms and buttresses that fully inhabit the New Mexico land. Depicted hundreds of times, most notably by Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams.


  • Education
  • University of Houston — Bachelors in Architecture
  • The University of Texas at Austin — Masters in Architecture History

Sofia Bruni, Assoc. AIA


  • I love making laser cut jewelry. I started in grad school as a failed side hustle. I ended up giving them all away as presents. No hustle… but much more fulfilling.
  • Propagating plants
  • Binge watching Netflix and true crime podcasts
  • High tops, and any kind of colorful sneaker

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture? 

Definitely a travel blogger! Or an international spy. Both get to travel.

What is your favorite quotation? 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?  

Tending to my army of succulents and taking my ride or die, Zeus, out to Lady Bird Lake.

  • Education
  • University of Colorado Denver — Master of Architecture
  • University of Colorado Denver — Master of Landscape Architecture
  • University of Texas at San Antonio — Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • University of Texas at San Antonio — Minor in Business Administration
  • Associations
  • Registrations
  • Assoc. AIA

Johan Cheah, AIA

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?
Going to the NBA draft . . . or designing for a tech startup.

Who was your most valued mentor and why?
My parents for making my life easier than theirs. They traveled to America to live the American dream.

What was your favorite project and why?
A tower in an engineering competition . . . It was so satisfying to construct a 5 foot tall model exactly as envisioned and to see it withstand an earthquake test after months of planning.

  • Education
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Architecture
  • University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering

Jorge Blandin, Assoc. AIA


Photography, cinematography, music, sports, rollercoasters, extreme sports, gaming, fitness.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

I am most proud of my thesis because it took a lot of time and effort, and it helped me realize the potential alternative architecture paths that I would like to pursue in the future.

Who was your most valued mentor and why? 

Byron Mouton, AIA. He helped me polish my design skills and instructed me in the process of construction from concept to realization.

What is your favorite place? 

Anywhere I can disconnect from the routine, to clear my mind, spark new ideas, or distract me from my problems.

  • Education
  • Tulane University — Bachelor of Architecture

Jun Zhou

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?
I don’t know, and we shall see. I was a structural engineer before.

What is your favorite quotation?
“A house is a machine for living in.” – Le Corbusier

What is your favorite place? Or building? Or Architect? And why?
Le Corbusier, and his Villa Savoye. It is a beautiful project that perfectly shows Corbusier’s five points of Architecture.

  • Education
  • University of Michigan — Master of Architecture
  • Wuhan University — Master of Engineering
  • Wuhan University — Bachelor of Engineering

Matthew Rhodes

What are the things you do for fun?
Tennis, Skateboarding, and video or board games with friends.

What would you do if you weren’t in Architecture? 
Although I have always been set on pursing Architecture, math is something that has come natural to me so teaching math would be an enjoyable career to fall back on.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

Definitely my dad. It seems like any question or issue I have he has an answer for. He is just someone that I want to be like. He is funny, insanely smart, and just a really good person.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

In my very short professional career, definitely the Liberty Oak Ranch during my internship here at MYA. I was a lot more involved than I assumed I would be in my first architectural internship. In my academic career my favorite project was for a community center in the Far Rockaways of NYC that was designed to be flood resistant and act as an emergency shelter in case of flooding or hurricanes. We clad it in a double mesh screen that produced really beautiful exterior spaces in between the different screens.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

I don’t really have one favorite architect or building. If I was forced to pick one project that I inexplicably love, it would probably be Koji Kakiuchi’s “Hut”. It just scratches that one itch in my brain visually. The scale model is beautiful and sometime in the future I want to start making scale models for display in my house of projects that I really like.

  • Education
  • Pratt Institute — Bachelor of Architecture

Jennie Garza, Assoc. AIA

What are your interests outside the office?

Typically, anything that involves the outdoors. I love spending time in my garden, hiking, and travel photography.

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

Farm to table chef. I’d love to grow my own ingredients and share with others.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

My mother, she has believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, and she continues to encourage me to strive for my goals.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

A favorite project of mine was a residence in Rollingwood. It was a great process of getting to know the client and implementing the elements of design that they had been dreaming about. The site constraints were also challenging, and we had to get creative for some site solutions.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

My favorite place, building and architect are the ones I haven’t discovered yet. It’s hard to pick just one but I tend to dive in deep when I learn about a new one.


  • Education
  • University of Texas San Antonio — Master of Architecture
  • University of Texas San Antonio — Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Associations
  • Assoc. AIA

Jessica Felicelli, Assoc. AIA

What are your interests outside the office?

I enjoy being active – yoga, rock climbing, paddle boarding, and traveling whenever I get the chance!

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

Probably an event planner or travel blogger/vlogger.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

My two sisters. In different ways, they inspire and encourage me to be my best self every single day! Not sure what I would do without them.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

I’ve really enjoyed working on the City of Austin Domestic Violence Shelter during my time at MYA. It feels like a project that is very rooted in the benefit of the Austin community, and it’s cool to see how an adaptive reuse project is carried out. During my academic career, I enjoyed working on the Kitsilano Pool restoration and reimagination project with Professor Kevin Alter. I love the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, so getting to visit the project site in Vancouver, British Columbia was a huge plus.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

I recently visited the Oslo Opera House designed by Snohetta and it was incredible. I liked how the building was monumental yet accessible and created such a unique and seamless dialogue with the surrounding fjord. Closer to home, I love visiting the Kimbell Art Museum designed by Louis Kahn because it’s the most beautiful art museum I’ve ever been to. It seems to get better every time I visit!

  • Education
  • The University of Texas at Austin — Masters of Architecture
  • Appalachian State University — Bachelor of Science in Building Science

Abigail Thomas

What are your interests outside the office?

Reading, swimming, hiking, and spending time outside with my friends, family, and dogs.

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

I’d want to be an architectural journalist or museum curator. Definitely something that would keep me in the design sphere.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

My parents, who have encouraged me to pursue my personal and professional interests to the fullest, but also taught me that those interests will take me in unexpected directions.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

In my short professional career, I’ve enjoyed working on exhibit design for the Briscoe Center for American History. It’s the perfect fit for my academic background, and I loved the involvement of a hands-on design-build project. I also got to learn new historical facts as I worked!

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

My favorite buildings are those that honor the natural world, either through inspiration or integration. My favorite places are anywhere that I can be in.

  • Education
  • The University of Texas at Austin — Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies
  • The University of Texas at Austin — Bridging Disciplines Certificate in Museum Studies

Joshua Cruz, AIA

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?

Running around Lady Bird Lake, playing ultimate, rock climbing, bowling, supporting Liverpool, playing trivia and chess.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

Fraye Hotel and Fallyn Apartments in Nashville. It was the first project that I’ve completed from design to completion. I enjoy seeing guests’ reactions as they wander through the spaces that I’ve designed. Inspiring others is one of the reasons why I’m motivated to do architecture.

What is your favorite place? Or building? Or Architect? And why?

La Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudí. The symbolic space, the light shining through the colored stained-glass window and the innovative organic forms just create a magical space that I believe is incomparable.

  • Education
  • University of Virginia — Bachelors in Architecture
  • University of Virginia — Masters in Architecture

Tyler Mason, AIA

What are your interests outside the office?

I have a lot of different hobbies including running, reading, traveling, and playing/watching as much basketball as I can.

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

I really enjoyed science and art classes in high school, and I also like the outdoors, so maybe something that combines the three. I think archaeology or cartography.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

Too many professors in college to mention, but they’ve helped me understand the meaning behind good design and its importance.

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

I’ve worked on a new College of Visual Arts and Design, and it was interesting to see what equipment/technology the students use and how it can enhance their learning.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

My favorite architect would be Tado Ando. I’ve gotten the chance to see some of his projects both locally and abroad and his work also reminds me that simplicity of design and materials can deeply resonate with others

  • Education
  • Texas Tech University — Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Texas Tech University Texas Tech University — Master of Architecture

Paul Holmes, AIA

What are your interests outside the office?

Running and cycling. I also run a yearly triathlon with my friends, CapTex, on Memorial Day. The swim takes place in Lady Bird Lake, and the bike is through Downtown Austin. It’s a pretty great course!

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

As a kid I always thought it would be interesting to design bridges, so structural or civil engineer!

What was your favorite project (that you were involved in) and why?

At a previous job, we were able to work with the local non-profit Mobile Loaves and Fishes on prototype micro-houses for new phases of their Community First! Village. The client was so engaged, and truly cared about the quality and experience of the homes. Site visits to the community + getting to participate in a SIP build of a previously designed micro-home were some other highlights.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect, and why?

The High Line, by the LA firm Field Operations and the architecture firm DSR, in New York is one of my favorite places, including the new CLT bridge by SOM that extends to the Moynihan train hall.

I think it’s great that that space gives park space back to NYC, where public/green space is so hard to come by. It makes walking feel easy, as you’re confronted with new types of plants and spaces. There’s a section of seating stairs that looks down over the street, where people always gather. I love any reason to get outside, especially in such a dense city environment. It’s a great space if you’re ever in the area!

  • Education
  • Tulane University — Dual Degree - Bachelors and Masters in Architecture

Jacob Hurt, AIA

Cooking, travel, film and television

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?
I’d work as a production designer for movies or television

What is your favorite building?
Fondazione Querini Stampalia by Carlo Scarpa in Venice, because it taught me that great design doesn’t have to be a huge gesture; it can be the small details that make you feel something powerful.

  • Education
  • The University of Texas at Austin — Master of Architecture
  • Ball State University — Bachelor of Science in Architecture

Mary Ely

What are your interests outside the office?

Cycling, hiking, camping, cooking, music, movies.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

An early boss of mine – she gave me a lot of room to both express and test my ideas.

What is your favorite place, building, or architect and why?

Santiago Calatrava is one of my favorite architects because his work balances tension and grace.

Malavika Shenoy

What are your interests outside the office?

Music, Cooking, Gardening , and Travelling.

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?

I would love to be a part of a movie set, a Cinematographer or a Production Designer.

Who has been your most influential/valued mentor and why?

My parents! They have been a driving force in my life.


  • Education
  • Manipal School of Architecture and Planning — Bachelors in Architecture
  • University of Colorado at Denver — Masters in Architecture

Briana Mahanay

What would you do if you weren’t in architecture?
In another life I would definitely be a vet. Animals have always been my passion.

Who was your most valued mentor and why?
I look up to my father the most. Watching him build beautiful custom homes was the best part of my childhood.

What do you spend the most energy doing outside the office?
Anything that involves being outside and in the sun. Camping, hiking, laying on the beach or even a picnic in the park. Listening to live music and exploring new places.



Architecture is an interactive process – a series of collaborations between owners, designers, builders, occupants, and the wider community. This process is enabled through free-flowing communication within our design teams and with our clients.

McKinney York is a collection of talented, enthusiastic design professionals, and we believe that great design is generated when everyone’s perspective is heard and respected. This is accomplished by empowering every staff member to speak and providing a platform for them to do so. The firm celebrates employee differences because we know diversity leads to greater innovation.

Our collaborative process extends beyond the studio to embrace our clients. With each commission we actively engage our clients and listen attentively to uncover the unique qualities of their project and site. The aim of this effort is to reveal not only the client’s top-of-mind goals, but also latent functional and aspirational goals, as these often determine the real success of a project.

Three architects working on designs at standing desk.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

McKinney York is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of ethnic diversity, gender diversity, and inclusion.

We are empowered by the distinctive backgrounds and life experiences that make each member of our staff unique. These diverse backgrounds bring diverse perspectives, infusing and illuminating the work environment and daily activities of design and creativity with otherwise unforeseen opportunities. The firm embraces and encourages expressions of employee’s age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other defining attributes.

We support and encourage the development of employee relationships and foster an inclusive culture where employees can grow through a collaborative experience. We are committed to ensuring our employees are actively engaged in the firm, through both outreach and internal check-ins. Also, our firm has implemented an internal mentorship program, allowing employees to learn from each other and grow. When our staff is engaged, we are all motivated to contribute and generate better design.

staff gathered around conference table reviewing construction drawings and project renderings


We strive to support and improve the communities where we live and work through volunteerism, outreach, mentorship, and our scholarship fund.

As a firm, we seek out opportunities to give back through volunteer work, from building trails for Austin Parks Foundation, to caring for animals at the Humane Society, to serving on boards and committees for over two dozen professional and community organizations.

One of our favorite outreach efforts is Architecture in Schools, where we share the creative endeavor of architecture with 3rd-5th grade students and explore how buildings contain space, how materials impact that space, and how buildings affect people.

Our mentorship takes many forms, ranging from one-to-one and small group activities to AIA Austin Women in Architecture, which aspires to spotlight female and nonbinary creatives and their work in the architecture, engineering, design, and construction industries within the Austin community to promote, validate, and illuminate women at all levels of their careers.

Since 2018, McKinney York has awarded an annual scholarship to support and encourage a talented, aspiring architecture student. This scholarship is available to an undergraduate, female student who demonstrates strong and original design capability and is entering her fourth or fifth year of the professional Bachelor of Architecture program at The University of Texas at Austin.


We are always looking for talented designers with enthusiasm and the desire to contribute to a creative and collaborative office. Our team members are optimistic creators, thought leading innovators, risk taking explorers, curious learners, and mindful listeners.

We offer health, dental and vision benefits along with a 401(k) plan where we match contributions, paid time off, paid family/sick leave program, and reimbursement for licensure exams. We are committed to the professional development of our employees by providing numerous opportunities for training, education, and career development.

We get together regularly for social events, health and wellness activities, and community volunteer days. We feel that these out-of office activities help build deeper relationships between employees and enrich the culture inside the office.

McKinney York Architects was recognized by the Zweig Group as one of the Best Firms to Work For and has received Firm Awards with both AIA Austin and Texas Society of Architects.

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Large recreational building with 3D letters that read "MONTOPOLIS".
Montopolis Recreation and Community Center Design Award Commendation for Affordable Sustainability, AIA Austin


AIA and TxA Design Awards

The front facade of George Sanchez Elementary School.
AISD Sánchez Elementary School wins AIA Austin Design of Excellence 2023


AIA Design Fellows


lectures and panels featuring McKinney York staff

Heather presenting at AIA speaking engagement with audience at tables in foreground
Heather McKinney, FAIA, RID, LEED AP, speaking at AIA Small Firms Round Table Event


publications in print and digital

display of magazine cover and magazine open to page with article
Winter Park Residence Cover Story Feature in Home Design & Decor Magazine


cumulative years of service on AIA Austin and TxA committees

Navvab standing pointing at projection screen in front of classroom of children and parents
Navvab Taylor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, as AIA Austin's K-12 Committee Chair, 2022


projects featured on the AIA Austin Homes Tour

Close up of front entrance of a modern home.
Las Brisas Residence, 2019 Homes Tour

If you would like to know more about our work, please contact us.

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