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Seattle, WA

Steven McKay



  • Architecture
  • Senior Principal
  • Global Design Leader
Steven McKay
  • Senior Principal
  • Global Design Leader

As DLR Group’s Global Design Leader, Steven guides the firm in fulfilling its vision to elevate the human experience through design. He is the leader of the firm’s global Design Forum, and is the executive design voice on the firm’s Executive Leadership team, working directly with leadership across all studios to advance the firm’s global design mission, practice, culture, and innovative advancements.

“My role is to ensure a consistent language of design exists in every corner of DLR Group – a framework of discussion through which we make all of our decisions by first evaluating our practice and projects through the lens of design.”

Steven has recently worked with designers across the firm to structure DLR Group’s approach to research and development and evidence-based design. This includes the formation of an R&D studio within the firm, and hands-on involvement in developing R&D programs impacting the global design and construction community as well as DLR Group’s own vision, mission, and practice. He also works directly with teams who are advancing the very processes of design, in particular through new technologies in digital design communication. 

Steven’s leadership also includes supporting and advocating the firm’s belief and practice in high performance design to create truly sustainable solutions. He has led or co-led DLR Group’s work to become an initial signatory of Architecture 2030 and the AIA 2030 Commitment; the creation of practice and design initiatives focused on fulfilling the 2030 challenge; the formation of DLR Group’s global Sustainability Forum; and the evolution of design agency through focus on social architectures and resilient design. Steven also recently led DLR Group’s team working with Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 to help shepherd the firm’s commitment to the 2015 China Accord - a commitment made by design firms to plan and design all cities, towns, developments and buildings in China to low carbon/carbon neutral standards.  

“Our goal is for the design work we do around the world to reflect the genuine culture, values, history, and society of the people it serves. That’s why we have offices within diverse geographies, led by diverse local professionals creating sustainable and authentic places and spaces for our clients. We don’t see ourselves solely as an international firm working abroad, but rather that of a truly global firm invested in the very places we choose to practice.”

Steven’s design portfolio spans diverse award-winning work across all DLR Group studios and geographies, and includes projects of significance for global clients both in the USA and China. When working with clients, Steve specializes in design discovery, working with client and design teams to determine visionary goals and objectives, programmatic synergies, and design concepts that offer unique means of creating world-class environments. 

Steven’s ongoing involvement in the design community includes his current and recent positions as a Senior Fellow and Board Member of the Design Futures Council; membership in the Architectural Advisory Council for the College of Design at Iowa State University; and membership in the AIA Large Firm Roundtable Sustainability Sub-Committee and Seattle AIA Honors Awards Committee Chair (2014). He regularly presents on topics of design and practice at industry conferences and summits, as well as authors or contributes to articles for diverse trade publications.

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