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 Interiors

scroll View Description
  • People sitting in the escalators of a modern lobby.
  • Glass conference room lit by large hanging light.
  • Two people working at a seating area. with plaques on the wall behind them.
  • 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.

  • People sitting in office's eating and working space.
  • People walking through and sitting in large open seating and meeting space.
  • Four chairs around table infront of small glass meeting room.
  • Small meeting room enclosed in glass walls.
  • People sitting in modern office's colorful seating area.

Project Details

The material and furnishings palette found throughout the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin College of Education was curated to support the varying needs of the spaces while helping shape their identities through complementary colors and patterns. At the main entry of the building and on each floor escalator landing, timeless neutral earth tones in the porcelain tile floors and floating wood ceilings direct views out to the east and west.

Adjacent to the main entry, visitors to the Glickman Student Lounge are offered furniture selections and groupings that cater to a range of activities: café-style tables for solo study to large communal tables for student groups; and a variety of soft-seating types – club chairs, sofas, and L-shaped benches – for introspection or conversation.

At suite entries and reception areas, brighter colors signify spaces dedicated to youth, welcoming students. As a counterpoint, the palette at the Dean’s Office features a custom wood entry with neutral colors combined with university colors. Within the research office suite, the collaboration café acknowledges the importance of a collective workspace where staff can connect when in the office. The seating options accommodate everything from a few minutes of solo focus time to a team meeting over lunch. Huddle rooms located at the periphery of the café feature conference room seating for comfort and utility for hybrid meetings.

Angled shifts in wall planes and glazed partitions of varying transparencies punctuate otherwise monotonous corridors. Entries for the College’s various academic and administrative centers are highlighted with custom College of Education branded graphics. Variations in textile colors and patterns provide visual interest and help distinguish different spaces, while the consistent styling of furniture types ensures a cohesive feel without imparting a sense of sameness.