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 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.


social media preview graphic


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.

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

Kirksey Wins “Best in Show” at IIDA Product Runway

Kirksey Wins “Best in Show” at Architectural Fashion Event That Gives Back to Community

Rubber flooring and seating textiles were carefully hand-stitched together to create this year’s winning dress for the annual IIDA Product Runway fashion show, held at the Revention Music Center on Friday, April 22.


PR_Kirksey_photo by Corvin Alstot_2


PR_Kirksey_photo by Corvin Alstot_3


Coming together to raise money for a good cause, Houston’s architecture and interior design professionals create fashion from everyday industry materials for artistic runway pieces that help raise funds for the Houston Furniture Bank, a non-profit organization that provides furniture and home goods for families in need.

First Place with an Artistic Interpretation
Kirksey Architecture took home Best in Show for their take on this year’s “Avant Art” theme. The Kirksey team was assigned Modernism with Georgia O’Keefe as the inspiration artist for their category, and created a colorful dress, reminiscent of the painter’s abstraction of flowers.

“We started with an original sketch and worked more than 150 man-hours around-the-clock in just three weeks to create the dress,” said Laura Vargas, a member of Kirksey’s Science & Technology team. “We are so proud of our entire team – it was definitely a group project.”

PR_Kirksey sketch


PR_Kirksey working on dress

The dress, weighing in at 50 pounds, was created using over 800 rubber tiles donated by Expanko rubber flooring that were individually hand-cut and hand-sewn. The fabric, provided by Humanscale, was originally white vinyl, but was hand-dyed to achieve the exact, desired color.

The collar of the dress was made entirely of rubber flooring and lined with 6-gauge copper wire to provide structure and form. More than 120 triangles had to be cut and sewn to create the blue cone shapes on the skirt of the dress.

“We are so lucky that Kirksey is committed to design in such a way that we’re able to give back to the community and contribute our design efforts for a good cause,” said Michelle Old, a member of Kirksey’s design team.

Fun Facts About the Dress
• Over 800 rubber tiles were individually hand-cut and hand-sewn to the dress.
• The fabric was originally white vinyl and was hand-dyed to the exact, desired color.
• The collar is made entirely of rubber flooring and lined with 6-gauge copper wire to give it structure and form.
• 120 triangles had to be cut and sewn to create the blue cone shapes on the skirt of the dress.
• It took approximately 7 minutes to sew on each tile.
• The dress weighs 50 pounds.
• Over 150 man-hours working around-the-clock in just three weeks were spent making the dress.

PR_Kirksey group photo 2016


PR_Kirksey_photo by Corvin Alstot_1

Kirksey Presents at A4LE IMPACT Southern Regional Conference

Kirksey is proud to present at the recently re-named A4LE (formerly CEFPI) regional conference in Houston on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) holds a regional conference every year. The non-profit organization strives to improve the places where children learn and serves as a resource for effective educational facilities. This year’s conference, IMPACT: Great Schools | Successful Students | Strong Communities, will be held at the JW Marriot in Houston and features four Kirksey speakers who are passionate about designing 21st century PK-12 learning environments.

Kirksey’s speakers include:

P_131126_N80_photopageNicola Springer, AIA, LEED AP
Vice President at Kirksey
PK-12 Education Team Leader

Nicola is passionate about education design and has made it the focus of her career for the past 15 years. Committed to designing schools that create healthy, positive environments, Nicola is a resource to Kirksey for 21st century learning and on the forefront of educational design. She has received several AIA Houston Chapter Design awards for her education projects and was the 2009 recipient of the AIA Houston Ben Brewer Young Architect of the Year Award.



P_131213_N17_photopageJulie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Vice President at Kirksey
EcoServices Team Leader

As Kirksey’s EcoServices Team Leader, Julie is on the forefront of sustainable design. She has managed the LEED process for over 50 projects, totaling more than 5 million square feet. In 2012, she was the recipient of the AIA Houston Ben Brewer Young Architect of the Year Award. She has worked on indoor air quality and sustainable site-related issues for more than ten years. She currently serves on the USGBC Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Committee.



P_131126_N20_photopageColley Hodges, AIA, LEED AP, WELL AP
EcoServices Team Member

Colley has administered the LEED certification of more than 2.5 million square feet for Kirksey’s diverse portfolio. He is a co-facilitator of Kirksey’s post-occupancy evaluations, a survey process Kirksey uses to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of a building once it’s finished and occupied. Colley regularly publishes and delivers presentations on topics such as climate-responsive design, building performance, and material health. His work in achieving Pilot Credit 45: Site Assessment is featured on the USGBC’s website as a guide to assist teams in achieving the LEED v4 Site Assessment credit, and most notably, he recently became one of the first WELL Accredited Professionals in the country.



P_131126_N45_photopageJody Henry, LEED AP
PK-12 Education Team Member

Jody brings more than 15 years of experience to Kirksey’s PK-12 education design, and has assisted on over 1 million square feet of education design in the greater Houston area. In 2011, she was named a Houston Green Hero by the USGBC and has spoken nationally on the benefits of “green” schools. Her passion for education design and 21st century learning is evident in the projects she manages – she is inspired to design facilities so that every child has a healthy and sustainable learning environment.


The topics Kirksey will present on include:

Better Than Platinum – The Healing Power of Play


  • Nicola Springer, PK-12 Education Team Leader
  • Jody Henry, PK-12 Education Team Associate

Summary: The Construction of a gymnasium building brings together a diversity of groups with a shared focus, with a mission to provide a building that teaches, inspires, one that is smart, that is healthy and has the potential to transform. This presentation will review the process of designing and building a multipurpose gym for a juvenile probation department. It shows the process and the importance of engaging the stakeholders at the early stages of design, and illustrates how these ideas were incorporated into the design solution. The building is seeking LEED platinum, and it will show the elements and the strategies incorporated to achieve that rating. The presentation will also show how volunteer programs are incorporated into the design as a part of the therapy for the young men, and how maximum security does not have to mean minimum design.

Demystifying Integrated Site Design


  • Julie Hendricks, EcoServices Team Leader
  • Nicola Springer, PK-12 Education Team Leader
  • Colley Hodges, EcoServices Team Member

Summary: Though integrated design is often discussed, it is implemented far more rarely. LEED v4, the green building rating system’s newest version, aims to ensure integrated site design through the collection of comprehensive site information during early design. What difference will that make? In this presentation, Kirksey will answer this question by presenting case studies, identifying helpful tools, and using iterative design charrettes.

The 2016 Michael G. Meyers Student Workshop Kicks Off!

Kirksey had a very successful turnout for this year’s Michael G. Meyers student workshop with more than 90 high school students in attendance from all around the greater Houston area. We sat down with Natasha Shamshiri, one of Kirksey’s Commercial team members and this year’s chair for the AIA MGMC event to get all the details.

What is the Michael G. Meyers Student Workshop?
Every year, the AIA organizes the Michael G. Meyers Design & Scholarship Competition for high school students to engage in architectural design through the use of an ideas based project. Before the competition, AIA sponsors a student workshop to kick off the event. The past few years, Kirksey has hosted the student workshop to give students a quick lesson on the basics of architecture and work in teams with volunteers to discuss and further develop those skills through the use of precedent/case studies. At the end of the workshop, each team presents their case study along with their sketches and models. Finally, the program and guidelines for the year’s competition is revealed.


MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (8 of 17)


What is this year’s competition?
Animal House! An Animal Shelter for Dogs and Cats in EaDo (East Downtown Houston).

How long do the students get to work on the project?
Students work on their projects for almost two months. This year’s deadline is April 29.


MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (9 of 17)


What’s it like working with the students?
Working with the students is always an exciting opportunity. It’s always really fun to see their ideas and creativity come to life.

What surprises you year after year?
While many of the competition entries are surprising, I would say what most surprises me is the impact that this competition seems to have on the students. I have met several professionals in the industry who participated in this competition when they were in high school and have now returned as volunteers for the committee.

Stay tuned for more MGMC updates as this year’s competition is off to the great start!

For more information about the competition, visit the AIA Houston website.

All photography by Shau Lin / Slyworks Photography


MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (3 of 17)

MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (5 of 17)

MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (10 of 17)

MGMC - 2016 - Fast 17 (11 of 17)