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 Project Visioning

scroll View Description
  • People walking through and chatting in central lobby of the College of Education at University of Texas.
  • glass wall with banner graphic that reads
  • A reception desk in a small lobby with the words
  • Glass and wood entrance to the Office of the Dean.
  • People walking through and sitting in large open seating and meeting space.
  • Students working at small seating area in front of stairs.
  • Rendering of the seating area within the Suzan Clarck Glickman Student Lounge.
  • Students working in Suzan Clark Glickman Student Lounge.
  • Up-close photo of letters spanning across glass wall of conference room.
  • Four chairs around table infront of small glass meeting room.
  • Metal escalator space through the third floor.
  • Glass entrance to the University of Texas College of Education Offices.
  • Women walking down a set of stairs to a bright open hallway.
  • People walking through buildings central escalator lobby space.

Project Details

Our relationship with the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin started with helping them establish their vision and chart a course for their future. Together, we identified the goals of creating a space that would: reflect the College’s values, create new physical and visual connections, and provide them with space for new activities and uses. After meeting with key stakeholders to define the scopes of the future work, we produced renderings of core project components to communicate the vision with University leadership, College of Education students, faculty, staff, and potential donors. Our final, comprehensive package for the project delivery plan included a feasibility study, conceptual design drawings, and a project budget and schedule to lay out the path forward.

Challenges such as funding limitations and a lack of swing space led us to produce test-fits for a series of phased renovations along with relocation planning. Since the plan would be executed over time, we designed a kit of parts solution featuring reorganizable components which could be used throughout the building. This kit of parts was supported by a comprehensive building standards document which defined the material and finish palettes to guide future renovations. To improve wayfinding, all spaces in the building were renumbered and received new signage. We designed custom wayfinding elements to interface with the University’s standard signage and added College of Education branded graphics to assist in establishing the identities of named academic centers.