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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The University of Texas at Austin College of Education Identity Design

scroll View Description
  • People walking through and chatting in central lobby of the College of Education at University of Texas.
  • Wood and glass entrance to the office of Dean.

    Interior renovation of the George I. Sanchez Building at the University of Texas at Austin by McKinney York Architects.

  • A reception desk in a small lobby with the words
  • Large chairs around table infront of glass conference room.
  • Up-close photo of letters spanning across glass wall of conference room.
  • Glass and Metal Entrance to Education Research Office at University of Texas at Austin.
  • Reception desk at Texas Education Research Office.
  • People walking through a building's modern interior escalader space.
  • Metal escalator space through the third floor.
  • Someone looking at a directory sign in a hallway next to the bottom of a escalator.
  • People in a college building's interior.
  • Students working in Suzan Clark Glickman Student Lounge.

Project Details

The architecture and graphics designed for the University of Texas at Austin College of Education work synergistically to promote their mission and values in three main ways:

Define destinations and gathering spaces: angled shifts in the grid of wall planes, the addition of glazed partitions punctuates otherwise monotonous corridors, and clearly indicate entries to establish metaphorical front doors for the College’s various academic centers. These entries are emblazoned with an orange band featuring the University seal and the Center name. At suite reception areas, applied graphics stating the College’s values scroll across the entry walls in both English and Spanish. The value words are repeated in cognate alphabet film within the suites, which provides visual screening and continues the brand identity at conference and huddle rooms. Layering and transparency are central to the identity concept and are present throughout the project.

Improve wayfinding: changes in floor and ceiling materials at the escalator lobby landings are visual cues signifying major nodes for both horizontal and vertical circulation. Custom corner signage at each concourse level orients visitors through oversized numerical floor indicators, building directories, and digital signage displays.

Honor the College’s benefactors: a consistent identity for major named spaces such as Massey Honor Hall and the Glickman Student Lounge is evident in the uniquely colored recognition walls accented with prominent stainless-steel lettering. This palette can be replicated to honor additional donors in future renovated spaces.