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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Robbs Run House

scroll View Description
  • houses inviting front entrance.
  • Symmetrical tall house seen from its street.
  • Exterior details of house and its landscaping.
  • A small dining corner connected to kitchen with colorful. backsplash.
  • A dining room of a home that also serves as a library.
  • Screeded in porch of a home.
  • A tiled master bathroom.
  • Houses interior floating wooden steps.
  • Large living room connected to a second floor balconey.

“It created a project that was simple and compact, but actually had a lot of perceptual depth and experience.”

-Gordon Wittenberg, AIA

Project Details

The need to save 15 specimen oaks determined the iconic form of this house. A potentially bulky form is instead a pair of tall, slim Monopoly houses with a glass slot that joins and splits the house top to bottom, flooding light throughout. McKinney York chose straightforward materials such as metal roofs for rainwater collection, cementitious siding and recycled stone for the retaining walls and porch fireplace. It is the detailing that brings elegance to those materials – the taut eaves and clever “inverse board and batten” use of the siding which accentuate the slimness of the building are two such examples. The siding is joined at the corners by an inverted metal corner, enhancing the simplicity of the composition. Each house form has its own grayish blue chameleon color which at times look the same, but on occasion appear to be strikingly different – a feature that keeps the neighbors intrigued.

Sustainability: five-star rating from City of Austin Green Building Program (the highest rating, only given to .5% of submitted projects, as of 2005); 1,200 gallon rainwater collection cistern for garden irrigation; house sited to protect specimen trees; salvaged stone from former house on lot reused to create fireplace and retaining walls; high performance spray foam insulation for exterior envelope including sealed attic space; high efficiency water-cooled air conditioning system utilizing an evaporative condenser, a variation of a “cooling tower”; 3 kilowatt photovoltaic system; low-water consumption, native plants; VOC-free compressed wheat board used for 75% of interior cabinet materials; recycled glass terrazzo countertop in guest bathroom; and optimization of daylighting and cross-ventilation


  • AIA Austin, Merit Award, 2006
  • Austin Energy Green Building, Five Star Rating, 2006
  • AIA Austin, Homes Tour, 2005


  • Austin American-Statesman, Mastering the Art of Living and Giving, May 2007
  • Austin Home Magazine, Heaven’s Kitchens: Commercial Appeal, Summer 2014
  • Austin Monthly Home, A Piece of Work, Spring 2007
  • Austin Monthly Home, The Perfect Room, Fall 2009
  • Innovative Home, Seeing the Forest for the Trees, Jan 2008
  • Metalmag, Setting the Tone, Nov/Dec 2006
  • Residential Architect, Do Not Disturb, Mar 2006
  • Designs For Healthy Living, New Sustainable Homes, Dec 2006
  • Texas Co-op Power, Green by Design: Style + Substance, June 2006
  • Western Interiors, Family Jewel, June/July 2007
  • Western Interiors, Shelf Life, Aug/Sep 2008
  • Wired, Big Chill, Jan 2007
  • KLRU, Austin Now, 2006
  • AT&T U-verse (Commercial), Fall 2013
  • Austin American-Statesman, Austin couple build house for the rest of their lives, Jan 2018
  • Community Impact News, 2015 Central Austin Architecture and Design Guide, Jun 2015
  • Houzz, In the Clear: Why See-Through Kitchen Cabinets Make Sense Aug 2017
  • Houzz, Dinner and a Good Book: 12 Double-Duty Dining Rooms, Jun 2015
  • Kitchen & Bath Design News, Backsplash Beauties, Aug 2017