On the Road
... with Alexis McKinney, AIA, LEED AP article by Noelle Heinze photography by Julie Pizzo
For Alexis McKinney, AIA, the “road to registration” has led to the past. And today, her interest in historic preservation has led to downtown Houston, where McKinney and colleague Gerald Moorhead, FAIA, peruse two historic houses (1904 and 1905) that have been “mothballed” and relocated to a dramatic site yards from the city’s 42,000-seat baseball stadium. The project is one of several McKinney is working on. Although McKinney can’t reveal many details, she manages to give a compelling tour while graciously deflecting questions that compromise the owner’s request for privacy. It’s a perfect example of her ability to balance competing interests and successfully accomplish the task at hand. A graduate of Texas A&M University and a recently licensed architect, McKinney practices with the award-winning Houston firm Bailey Architects, where she specializes in historic projects. She credits travel (as a young child her parents took her to Taliesin West) and art history for her interest in architecture. “I didn’t think about being an architect until I took an art history course in high school,” she says. “I have a visual memory, so I found it really interesting.
I like stories, and in art history there is a story behind each piece. By the end of the course, I knew I wanted to pursue architecture.” both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at A&M, became interested in historic buildings through the university’s Center for Heritage Conservation, which was established by esteemed preservation architect and now emeritus director David Woodcock, FAIA. She was involved in several of the center’s research projects, including documentation of the Pointe du Hoc site in France with a 3-D laser scanner and with hand drawings that meet the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey standard. “I did that over a couple of years and was able to be employed on the project during graduate school,” she says. “It was a unique and wonderful experience.” McKinney also travelled to China on a fellowship the summer before the 2008 Olympics and was able to see the construction and redevelopment of the districts. “Because of AIAS connections, I knew of this fellowship and asked professors what I needed to do, what I needed to develop, and how I could present my application in a way that it would be awarded the travel McKinney, who completed
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