Kirksey+Turner Take Home 1st Honorable Mention at CANstruction 2016

Stacking row after row of canned food on Saturday November 5th at the CityCentre Five, the Kirksey Architecture + Turner Construction team began to see their design of The Jungle Book’s Baloo the Bear come to life for their CANstruction entry of “Food is a Bear Necessity” and proudly took home 1st Honorable Mention for their Disney-inspired design.

Every year, Houston area students, architects, designers and architecture/engineer/construction industry members compete in CANstruction, a national charity of the design and construction industry created by the Society of Design Administration. The Houston event aims to increase Houston Food Bank’s inventory of canned goods through a fun design competition where groups create larger-than-life sculptures using donated canned goods.

Dubbed “CANsculptures,” the super-sized masterpieces are judged in a variety of categories and the exhibit is open to the public through November 12; the cost of admission being just one can of food.

“We started our design work in the beginning of August,” said Kirksey architect and CANstruction team member, Megan Tegethoff. “Once we chose our theme ‘Food is a Bear Necessity,” one of our rock star team members, Cynthia Helms, spent approximately 16 hours modeling each and every can in the design so we were able to get an accurate can count and better visualize the design.”

The final Kirksey+Turner design came in at a whopping 5,556 cans that weighed an impressive 1,807.5 pounds of food.

“CANstruction is extra special because it’s the one design competition where no matter the outcome of the scores, everyone walks away feeling good about their contributions. Each design entry provides much needed food to the Houston Food Bank – helping provide meals to our fellow Houstonians during the holiday season,” said Megan.

For more information on CANstruction or to visit the exhibit, please visit:








Catherine Callaway Named HBJ “40 Under 40” Honoree

Kirksey is proud to announce one of our own as honoree

Kirksey Architecture is proud to announce that Catherine Callaway, AIA, a senior associate on the firm’s Community Team, was named a “40 Under 40” honoree by the Houston Business Journal. Every year, the Houston Business Journal recognizes 40 individuals who exhibit leadership skills, overcome challenges and excel in their community. This year, more than 500 individuals from across all industries were nominated.

Catherine’s dedication to the field of architecture as President-elect of AIA Houston, her commitment to community through her work on the Sunset Coffee Building in Downtown Houston, and her enthusiasm for her city are just a few of the reasons she was selected for this well-deserved honor.

The event was held October 27 at the Astorian, with this year’s theme that harkened back to high school. HBJ asked honorees to submit superlatives and photos of themselves from high school. Click here to read the full story and see photos of the event.

Congratulations, Catherine!




Congratulations to Julie Hendricks, Selected as 2016 LEED Fellow

LEED Fellows are best-in-class for green building design, engineering and development

Kirksey is very proud to announce that our very own Julie Hendricks, AIA, is now also a LEED Fellow, as named by Green Business Certification (GBCI). With only 24 LEED Fellows selected nationally, this honor exemplifies a diverse array of achievements and contributions to the green building community. There are only 9 other LEED Fellows in the state of Texas, and only 1 in Houston — Julie now makes 2, so this is quite an accomplishment.

We are so proud of this well-deserved honor for Julie! For the full press release, click here.



Julie being inducted into the 2016 class of LEED Fellows:




Kirksey Attends IIDA Advocacy Symposium in Denver

Necia Bonner, RID, Kirksey’s Interior Healthcare Director and IIDA Houston City Center Advocacy Chair, attended the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Advocacy symposium in Denver with other City Center Advocacy Chairs from across the country on September 23 – 25.

The two-day program focused on why interior design licensing is so important, how to protect it, how to build relationships and other decision makers, how to work with a stakeholders group, and how to promote a grassroots movement for licensure. There were several politicians on the speaking panels, including two U.S. State Representatives and one U.S. Senator.

In addition to attending the speaking sessions, Necia also got to take a guided tour of the 100-year-old Denver state capitol building and was invited to a private reception at Coors Field.

For more information on the event, please visit:







Member of Kirksey’s Design Team Honored at Opening Reception for Texas Student Biennial Exhibition


Master Board (MCHAP)


Kirksey’s very own Giovanni Peña, a member of Kirksey’s Design Team, was honored at the Biennial Opening Reception for the 2016 Texas Student Biennial Exhibition, an exhibit featuring the work of architecture students from all eight architecture schools across Texas. His design thesis, focusing on a conceptual recycling center in his home country of Puerto Rico, was selected to be featured. We sat down with Giovanni to learn more about the exhibit and his work.

What is the Texas Student Biennial Opening Reception?
The reception marks the beginning of the 2016 Texas Student Biennial exhibition, an event where many students and professionals are able to see a great variety of projects by architecture students across Texas.

How were you selected?
While I was completing my thesis project at the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, one of my professor’s encouraged me to submit my project for the 2016 Texas Student Biennial. This year’s theme was “sequence,” a concept I believed my project represented. I submitted my project for consideration and within a few weeks, I received an email from the event organizer notifying me that my project had been selected. 

What are the eligibility requirements?
The exhibition features projects from all eight architecture schools in Texas. As far as the content of the project, the committee wanted to see an exploration of sequence and its potential in students’ work. 

How long does the exhibit last?
The drawings and models will be displayed until December 16.

What motivates you as a designer? Where do you find inspiration?
I am fascinated by anything that involves problem-solving through design. More specifically, the often overlooked typologies such as public housing and community projects. Before I studied architecture, I wanted to be an artist, and while studying architecture, I rarely referenced works of art in any of my projects.

The more I learned about architecture, the more I realized it wasn’t art. Art doesn’t have to serve any purpose, and with a few exceptions, it doesn’t have to solve any problems. Therefore, I find inspiration in projects where the architects — due to all the constraints — had to transform the ordinary into an extraordinary work of architecture. The design process is never linear, so I enjoy everything that happens between point A and point B.

For this project, what was your concept / what is the story behind it?
The title of my thesis project is: “Unveiling the Hidden Stratum: A Recycling Center In Puerto Rico.” Puerto Rico is currently facing a solid waste management crisis. The low recycling rates, the poor solid waste management infrastructure, and most importantly, the lack of education have all contributed to create this problem.

Recycling is an industrial process that is not visible or at least not visible enough. By exposing the process in the heart of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, the process then becomes a part of people’s everyday lives which addresses the lack of education.

The project is surrounded by museums, parks, businesses, event spaces, residential areas, and universities. This meant that the scope of the project had to go beyond addressing the lack of education, and the building had to become an asset to the city.

The only way to accomplish this was by reinventing the typology of the recycling center. The resulting typology was derived from combining a park, a gallery, a learning center, and a small recycling factory. I wanted people to experience various degrees of interaction with the materials being recycled in the facility. The gallery portion of the program showcases art made from recycled materials while the walls of the learning center are made of the plastic processed in the factory component of the program. The project is a celebration of circulation; the circulation of materials in the factory, pedestrian circulation in the park and the circulation of the recycling trucks and school buses.

A question that professors often asked was, “Why out of all possible topics, did I choose recycling?” The truth is that I wanted to attempt to solve a national problem through architecture.

I remember I was in 5th grade when I won my first design competition: to design a poster for the new recycling campaign for the municipality of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. After the competition my teacher took me and my classmates to collect trash along the beach. Even though we were very young, we felt responsible for our beach so we didn’t mind being there for a whole day, and we all left with a sense of fulfillment. My hope was that if this project where to ever get built, children would leave with that same feeling.

What else should everyone know?
Lastly, I would like to say that this project is by no means the solution to Puerto Rico’s solid waste management crisis, but a prototype and a potential catalyst for change. Just as my picking up trash on the beach that day was not enough when looking at the big picture. I think that education has to transcend the classroom, and children have to not only read about the problems in their community, but also be physically exposed to them. I personally respond better to an active learning method rather than a passive one. The projects will be on display through December 16, so if you are interested, there is plenty of time to see them.

The What, Where and When

WHAT: Biennial Opening Reception & Annual Back to School Bash

WHEN: Friday, September 16 – Friday, December 16, 2016

WHERE: Architecture Center Houston



Giovanni at the opening reception with Sharon Chapman, one of his undergraduate professors at the University of Houston.


Giovanni presenting his final graduate thesis, titled “Unveiling the Hidden Stratum: A Recycling Center in Puerto Rico.”


Guests enjoying the 2016 Texas Student Biennial Exhibition at the Architecture Center Houston.


Kirksey Video: Inspiring Life

Winston Churchill once famously said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Architecture, at its core, is a human element. From hospitals to schools to research labs, Kirksey has been designing captivating spaces for 45 years. These are the spaces that inspire. We are happy to share our new branding video with you.


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Fun “Behind-the-Scene” Facts / “What’s that Project?”

1. Baylor College of Medicine, National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)

  • Julie Do is the woman in the video. She is the Director of Finance for the Baylor College of Medicine Center for Space Medicine, and the Chief Financial Officer for NSBRI.

2. CHI St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital

3. Houston Independent School District, Herod Elementary School

  • The boy in the video is a student at Herod, used with permission.

4. Motiva Enterprises, Downtown Houston. Interiors project.

  • Erin Shedd, AIA, a member of Kirksey’s Hospitality Team, is the star of this clip!

5. Queensbury Theatre, Houston CityCentre

  • A Queensbury actor appears in this clip.

6. Energy Center 3 lobby

7. Petroleum Club of Houston bar & dining room

8. Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA

9. Texas A&M University, Agriculture & Life Sciences Complex

10. Kirksey office:



Kirksey + Metzger Construction Team Takes Home Golden Bucket at AIA Sandcastle Competition!

For the second year in a row, Kirksey Architecture + Metzger Construction proudly took home the coveted Golden Bucket Award for this year’s AIA Sandcastle Competition in Galveston, Texas on Saturday, August 20th.

This year, the Kirksey + Metzger team did “Finding Gory,” a play on the Disney/Pixar animated sequel to Finding Nemo, complete with Dory, the lovable, but forgetful blue tang fish, but incorporated a wicked, comically dark spin featuring some of Disney’s villains from the sea. The team was also won “Best Team T-Shirt” and “Kidtastic! – Disney Edition,” a new competition category, for their sandcastle creation.

Despite a forecast of rain for the rescheduled 2016 AIA Sandcastle Competition, Mother Nature relented and the teams were able to carve out a successful day of fun in the sun and sand.

“Kirksey has a tradition of putting a twist on our sandcastle theme to help the work stand out from the crowd,” said Cynthia Helms, AIA, Kirksey member. “Sometimes it’s through mixing two contrasting elements together. This year we turned Finding Dory on its tailfin and used the traditional roles of the characters as they would be in the real world to ignite a scene of energy and ‘gore.’”

The team spent hours planning the design, working from a scaled-down-to-size clay model to use as a guide. The day of the competition, the team was divided into separate groups and each conquered their portion of the design.

“It was an amazing team effort, and we always have so much fun working together every year at the AIA Sandcastle Competition,” said Andrew Tyler, Kirksey’s “Sandman,” and Sandcastle team leader.


























All photos by Ruben Serrano.

Downtown Houston Childcare Center Featured in Washington D.C. National Exhibit

The annual exhibit from AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals (CEP) showcases the most creative new plans, projects, art, and design from architecture and design’s rising generations from around the nation.

Kirksey’s Downtown Houston Childcare Center was selected to be a part of the exhibit at the national AIA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. from now until September.

This year’s theme, It Takes a Community, features the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.

“It’s great to see a project that impacts the downtown Houston community be highlighted at a national level,” said Michelle Old, AIA, on the design team at Kirksey.

The project — a childcare center in the middle of a busy urban downtown — brings children to the middle of the city, but also brings families and life to its center. It helps collapse the barriers of work, home, and school and dissolves the rigidity of an urban business district. The client wanted to create a home-like, caring atmosphere for its students. The design team consisted of Michelle Old, AIA; Nicola Springer, AIA; Gary Machicek, AIA and Michael La Nasa.

YAF National_1


YAF National_2



Gaining a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma



Marty Fifer, AIA, now has a few more credentials to add behind his name. Vice President on Kirksey’s Science & Technology team, Marty has achieved Lean Six Sigma certification as a Green Belt. Marty sat down with us to elaborate on his new skills, and what it means to be certified in this practice.

What is Lean Six Sigma?
 In a Nutshell: Removing the Waste
First published in a book titled Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed by Michael George and Robert Lawrence Jr., Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that combines a collaborative team effort to improve performance by removing anything of waste. Especially useful in the industrial and manufacturing markets, Lean Six Sigma defines eight different kinds of “waste.” Similar to judo, the program is broken into different belt designations: white belt, yellow belt, green belt, black belt, and master black belt.
1) Time
2) Inventory
3) Motion
4) Waiting
5) Over production
6) Over processing
7) Defects
8) Skills

How is this used in the industrial / manufacturing world?
Lean Six Sigma has become an integral part of the industrial / manufacturing world for the past several years because industry leaders have found that Lean Six Sigma principles lead to: greater customer satisfaction, greater efficiency, safer working environments, and higher employee retention. We integrate these principles into our designs which have already enhanced our clients’ businesses.

How long did it take you to achieve it? What was the process like?
I have been studying these principles for the past five years through my own research in the industrial, manufacturing and healthcare markets and was utilizing many Lean Six Sigma strategies during that time. After seeing its positive results and obtaining positive feedback from our clients, I decided to pursue certification this year. I participated in the University of Houston Lean Six Sigma Green-Belt Course this spring. This course consisted of over 120 hours of instruction time split between on-line courses and in-class courses with a Master Black Belt instructor. The Master Belt Instruction provided case studies and hands-on problem solving exercises in addition to feedback from other industry professionals.

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from this certification?
I was amazed to see the diversity of industries that are utilizing Lean Six Sigma principles which ranged from industrial / manufacturing, health care, hospitality and real estate.

How are you most looking forward to applying this new certification?
We are implementing many Lean Six Sigma principles in our current industrial, automotive and manufacturing projects. We are also working on implementing many of these principles into our daily architectural processes and systems. Based on the feedback from our current clients, these internal enhancements will continue to enhance our clients’ experiences working with Kirksey.

Gulf Coast Green Merges Art with Architecture for Sustainable Design

Gulf Coast Green header1

smART Design: the intersection of art, architecture and sustainability at Gulf Coast Green

Kirksey participated in the 2016 Gulf Coast Green conference, held Thursday, April 28, at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). Hailed as the best one yet, this year’s conference explored how art and the principles of sustainable design can enrich the classic architectural qualities as described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius: firmitas, utilitas, and venustas (durability, utility and beauty). Founded by Kirksey 11 years ago, Gulf Coast Green features local and international speakers focused on sustainable design, bringing together like-minded green-building professionals to share creative concepts, knowledge and sustainable building solutions. This year’s keynote speakers were Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG Architects out of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Jimmy DiResta, a designer and master maker who has starred on several DIY shows on channels such as HGTV, FX Network and Discovery.  


BIG Architecture - Kai-Uwe Bergmann





This year’s outstanding lineup of session speakers included a member of Kirksey’s PK-12 Education Team. Nicola Springer, AIA, LEED AP, and Education PK-12 Team Leader at Kirksey, discussed Place Making by Painting: Art as a Catalyst for Change, a topic centered around a juvenile rehabilitation center and the painted mural that brought both the artist and students together, resulting in a beautiful group effort and focal point for the building.


Nicola talk1




Nicola talk2


Members of Kirksey’s EcoServices and Education teams heavily participated in this year’s conference:

  • Colley Hodges, AIA, LEED AP, WELL AP, was vice-chair of the conference and co-chair of the speaker committee.
  • Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP, director of EcoServices at Kirksey served as speaker co-chair.
  • Katherine Ruiz, AIA, LEED AP, led the Artist Exhibition, a new component to compliment the art theme for this year, guiding and organizing the exhibition from the beginning. The open call for artists asked them to submit work for a pop-up exhibition that focused on recycled materials, energy efficiency, non-toxic materials and materials reuse.
  • Valeriya Bowker, LEED AP, led and organized the Green Product Showcase, the conference’s vendor exhibit that featured products and systems that turn design ideas into sustainable places to live, work and learn. She also co-organized a competition that awarded a prize to the person who visited the most vendor exhibits.
  • Alfonso Hernandez, LEED AP, co-chaired the Student Competition, a sustainable competition focused on the 5R’s (recycle/reuse/reclaim/restore/repurpose). The student competition had one of its best showings in recent years, with 12 teams competing representing three local schools: the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M, and the Art Institute.
  • Christina Miller, LEED AP, led the Green Event effort, helping to ensure that our event was abiding by zero-waste principles and co-organized the Green Product Expo competition.


Tiny houses

Plastic water bottle wall