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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Central Chilling Station No. 6

scroll View Description
  • Facade of a brick university building.
  • Small walkway of a university campus.
  • The rooftops of university buildings.
  • A light shadowing structure build into wall of a large brick college building.
  • Industrial central chilling station of a building complex.
  • Large mechanicals systems outside of a building.
  • Roof a chilling station with a view to the University of Texas Tower.

Project Details

Facing growing demand for chilled water and the demolition of an aging chilling plant, the Utilities Department commissioned this new 15,000 ton Station No. 6. The need for proximity to the existing distribution network left No. 6 situated in the tight confines of the central campus, constrained on all sides by existing buildings, by a network of tunnels below, and by height restrictions above. The building balances equipment, security, and personnel requirements with a pedestrian-friendly exterior that adheres to the campus master plan. The design places the human-scaled program elements along the western face of the building which fronts courtyards at both ends. The brise soleil window wall of the office wing serves as counterpoint to the simple limestone and brick enclosure of the rest of the structure. In an allusion to the cooling effects of wind and rain the inverted pyramidal copper roof opens upward to the sky.

Publication: Texas Architect, Winter 2009

Sustainability: As of February 2011, this plant was the most energy-efficient chilling plant in the nation.  No. 6 alone reduced the Kilowatts per ton consumption across the entire campus (a total of four chilling stations) by over 18%.  The make-up water for this system is captured from a variety of campus sources, including foundation drains, swimming pools, and condensers. This allows the system to operate with very little need for domestic water.


  • Texas Architect, Efficient Infill, Winter 2009