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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Briscoe Center for American History

scroll View Description
  • An entrance to a building titled Briscoe center for American history.
  • Reception desk with
  • A reception desk.
  • A hallway with display cases.
  • An exhibit hallway with display cases off to its side.
  • An interior wall that has Dr. T. Kartman & Carolyn Weatherby Gallery written on it.
  • entrance to exhibit wall with graphic of the American south and large text that reads
  • Dark exhibit room with display cases displaying many documents.
  • A dark history exhibit.
  • Women sitting looking at historic pictures framed on a museum wall.
  • A long view of an art exhibit that sectioned into four sections for their different colored walls.
  • Wooden day lockers.
  • A study room in library.
  • A librarian desk.
  • A woman researching at a standup desk in a library.
  • View of groundfloor library with only glass walls.
  • large building blocked by trees named
  • A sidewalk neighboring a plaza.

The Briscoe Center produced this short video, narrated by Dan Rather, following the completion of their facility renovation.

McKinney York was also commissioned to design the invitations to the grand re-opening of the Briscoe Center, as well as the fundraising brochure used to show the project to potential donors.

  • Picture publication open up on table.
  • Picture publication open up on table.
  • Picture publication open up on table.
  • Picture publication open up on table.
  • Picture publication open up on table.

Project Details

The Briscoe Center’s home in Sid Richardson Hall at UT Austin had grown woefully inadequate, offering zero exhibition space, limited access to their vast collections, and a practically nonexistent public profile. Following an assessment and feasibility study and the design of a fundraising brochure, we created this comprehensive renovation to completely overhaul and revitalize their space, increasing the visibility of both the Center and their collections.  This project marked the first significant improvement to the Center’s facilities since they opened in 1971.

A glass awning quietly punctuates a relocated entrance in the breezeway adjacent to the LBJ Presidential Library, putting the front door in sight of 100,000 potential visitors every year. Inside, an inviting lobby leads to multiple exhibition galleries; a technologically-enhanced reading room; and reconfigurable public programming space for lectures, symposia, and more.

Space adjacencies were reconfigured to separate public and private zones in a prototypical museum layout.  This arrangement enables improved security and access control, and more logical circulation.  It also takes advantage of the glass box housing the Center, affording ample natural light where it’s beneficial, and shielding sensitive artifacts and materials where it’s not. McKinney York provided exhibit design, thoughtfully-integrated donor recognition throughout the facility, complete FF&E, and life safety and accessibility upgrades.


  • American School & University, Educational Interiors Showcase, Outstanding Designs, 2021


  • Austin Business Journal, Museum-quality skills showed off in historic fashion, Jun 2017
  • UT Austin News, Briscoe Center for American History Reopens with New Exhibit Spaces After Renovation, Oct 2017
  • Austin American Statesman, UT’s Briscoe Center now a place of history for everyone, Apr 2017
  • Austin 360, UT’s Briscoe Center now a place of history for everyone, Apr 2016
  • Public Radio International, In Texas, a model of what to do with unwanted Confederate statues, Sep 2017