McKinney York 40 Years of architecture that engages, inspires and belongs
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Celebrating 40 Years of Design!

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. 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


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. 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


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. 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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African American Cultural & Heritage Facility

scroll View Description
  • A small house next to a building titled
  • The side facade of a heritage facility.
  • A small historic yellow house connected to a Larger civic building.
  • People walking across a bridge that spans between two buildings above a courtyard.
  • An exposed concrete elevator shaft neighboring a staircase.
  • A computer on a medium sized conference table.
  • People standing on the concrete patio above a central courtyard.

“The African American Cultural and Heritage Facility really stood out as a good example of how a museum can be part of a neighborhood and how it could be integrated into a neighborhood.

-Teresa Rosano, AIA

Project Details

The focal point of this project is the modest 1890’s Dedrick-Hamilton House built by the son of a freed slave. Relying entirely on its vertical board sheathing for support, the fragile structure survived in the same family until acquired by the City. Located at the gateway to the African American Cultural and Heritage District, this project restores and repurposes the home as the District’s Visitors Center. Offices, meeting rooms, parking, and a performance space for community organizations are housed in a new structure that respects the scale, proportions, and material palette of the historic shops and houses of 11th Street while filling in a long-missing segment of the street-wall. A shade screen throws deep shadow on the rear wing providing a recessive backdrop to the historic house while defining a sheltered courtyard for outside performances and gatherings.

Sustainability: LEED NC Gold certified, reduction of urban heat-island effect, bicycle storage and shower facilities, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures (30% reduction), drought-tolerant native vegetation, high efficiency irrigation (30% reduction), high-efficiency mechanical system and lighting (45% energy reduction), photovoltaic panels, occupancy sensing controls, day-lit occupied areas, salvaged and reused materials, locally manufactured and extracted materials, FSC certified woods, construction waste diverted from landfill, low-emitting materials, views to exterior, high-efficiency ventilation, construction air quality control plan


  • AIA Austin, Merit Award, 2013
  • Preservation Texas, Historic Rehabilitation Award, 2013
  • Preservation Austin, Preservation Merit Award, 2013
  • City of Austin, Austin Green Award, 2026


  • KXAN, Shack Becomes History Center: African American Center Coming to East Austin, Jan 2011
  • Texas Architect, Historical Marker, Jan 2015