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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Lake Travis UMC Ministry Activities Center

scroll View Description
  • stone stand holding up a cross beneath a set of stairs.
  • people walking down stairs.
  • A church's industrial kitchen.
  • People preforming to audience inside a church's auditorium.
  • Chairs around two tables in the front lobby area of a building.
  • The metal and glass main entrance of a building.
  • Side profile of a metal and glass front entrance to a building.

Lake Travis UMC Master Plan

Since the founding of this church in 1988, the congregation has grown and flourished, attracting many young families moving into the Lakeway area. The change in demographics in the membership and the surrounding community over time required the existing campus to be evaluated to ascertain how best it might be used to strengthen and grow the Church community. Through interviews and surveys, McKinney York developed a plan to address the needs and desires of the burgeoning congregation. The master plan includes the addition of a family life center, additional adult and child education facilities, renovated music spaces and renovated office facilities, an expansion of the worship and narthex spaces, improved drives and additional parking, and associated outdoor community spaces.

  • Diagram of church compound from bird's eye view.
  • Pencil sketch of large church compound from above.
  • Pencil sketch of people walking into a church.
  • Pencil sketch of cafe space with large windows and high ceiling.

Project Details

Accommodating contemporary worship services, youth education, athletics, celebrations, and weekly dinners, this 15,000 square foot facility provides large, flexible spaces in an attractive yet cost-effective manner. The Ministry Activities Center strikes a delicate balance, reinforcing the campus’ existing architectural vocabulary while providing a fresh aesthetic indicative of the facility’s youth-oriented mission. The form is essentially a “bar” and a “box.” The bar is scaled to complement the existing buildings, frame a courtyard, and camouflage the basic box housing the large multipurpose space. The bar’s dramatic double-height lobby acts as a beacon and a welcoming presence. To create these forms, McKinney York used a hybrid structural system blending inexpensive standardized metal building components with exposed structural steel. The result is refined and affordable.

Sustainability: high-efficiency HVAC systems incorporating enthalpy recovery ventilation; energy-efficient windows, appliances, and lighting with occupancy-sensing controls; high recycled content materials; low-VOC interior finishes; native and adapted low-water use plant species.