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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Designing for Authenticity

How we helped Frost Bank tell their story

Since 1868, Frost Bank has served Texans and our communities with integrity, placing relationships and a clear value system at the center of everything they do, from their commitment to service, to their community involvement, to their latest initiative, Opt for Optimism. For over a decade, McKinney York has helped Frost tell their story in an authentic way through the built environment.

Each Frost financial center is designed to place the customer at the center of everything. This begins with a prominent, welcoming greeter station where bankers can assist with deposits and withdrawals, answer account questions, and issue debit cards. This custom millwork piece has seen multiple iterations to keep pace with evolving services and customer needs. In many locations, a Frost Room offers self-service digital banking solutions and a waiting area in a setting more reminiscent of a living room than a bank lobby. The Frost Room represents the heritage of the bank.

Frost’s focus on putting people first extends beyond the customer into the community. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the company in 2018, Frost committed to do 150 good deeds across each of its regions. Employees volunteered 10,961 hours of their time to community service. In 2018, Frost launched its Opt for Optimism initiative to unlock the powers of optimism and make people’s lives better by building community, fostering generosity, and changing perspectives. These efforts underscore Frost’s values and accentuate their longtime tagline: “We’re from here”.

Our designs reinforce the “from here” ethos through the use of regional wood and stone finishes, as well as numerous smaller touches like curated books and artwork. We take an active role in helping to select works by Texas artists and about subjects chosen for each specific location. Many of our financial center designs also include a Community Room which is available for use by local organizations, allowing the physical spaces to participate in the neighborhoods in which they reside.

Finally, our spaces also reflect Frost’s position as an innovator in banking who embraces new technologies and features, as well as state-of-the-art security. The material palette shines here, as those traditional materials are detailed in a thoughtful and contemporary manner. We have also brought the Frost aesthetic to innovative spaces such as the Switch Van–a mobile banking center designed to introduce prospective customers to Frost–and an interactive exhibit that shares the story of Frost in the lobby of the new Frost Tower in San Antonio. A stand-alone exhibit in the lobby displays the bank’s currency collection between two layers of curved plexiglass with windows allowing you to see both sides of the paper bills.

By carefully considering the qualities and characteristics of their spaces at all scales, from building siting, to space types, to custom millwork, to materials and finishes, to the art hanging on the walls, we’re able to provide Frost with a consistent yet distinctive architectural voice that reflects who they are. These spaces go beyond typical “branded” environments to authentically tell the Frost story.

What story do you want to tell?

If you or your organization would like more information on this topic, please email us.