Structural engineering firm Studio NYL is marking its 10-year anniversary in business. The Boulder-based firm, launched by co-founders Christopher O’Hara and Julian Lineham on February 4, 2004, continues to expand on its portfolio of regional and international work.

Photo by Rogne Photography
Studio NYL co-founders Julian Lineham and Chris OHara stand atop a three-story structural glass stairway in an Aspen-area residence. The faade and structural-glass features were designed by the firm.
Photo by Torres
Cineteca Nacional, site of the National Film Center in Mexico City, is the largest and busiest film center in the world. The project architect was Rojkind Arquitectos, who hired Studio NYL to do the structural design.

The “NY” in Studio NYL’s name stands for New York, where O’Hara began his career, and the “L” stands for London where Lineham began his. O’Hara and Lineham opened Studio NYL’s first office in O’Hara’s Boulder home without a single project on the books.

They had chosen not to pursue former clients out of respect for their previous employer. Within a few months, the firm’s portfolio began to expand, including more sophisticated opportunities like work on its first performing arts center—now one of their specialties—as well as multiple structural glass and façade projects. These eventually formed the foundation for the firm’s Skins Group, launched in Sept. 2012.

“Our core purpose in starting Studio NYL was to elevate the quality of design in Colorado by ensuring that architects would not be limited or encumbered by their engineers,” O’Hara said. “We also wanted to introduce to Colorado many of the emerging technologies and advanced materials we had become familiar with during our time in London and New York City. While our work and focus remain here in our home state, the bar is continually being raised by our past successes. Over the next 10 years, we hope to make a substantive impact on a global level.”

The team at Studio NYL consistently works with nontraditional materials such as structural glass, fiber-reinforced polymers and advanced concrete technologies. The co-founders have also invested in the latest computer technology, as demonstrated by the firm’s rapid adoption of early building information modeling platforms such as Revit, which was released during Studio NYL’s first year in the marketplace.

The firm has also been sought out by Autodesk to help advance its BIM and analytical packages for parametric design and digital fabrication—now integral parts of Studio NYL’s projects.
“Since our launch in 2004, the core of who we are and why we started Studio NYL has not changed,” said Lineham. “We have always sought out exceptional projects that challenge our team while elevating design through the integration of architecture and structure, and we relish the opportunity to help push architects’ designs to accomplish their purest initial vision before compromises occur. By working with both the contractor and the architect, we’re able to sculpt efficient designs that meet the original intent while still adhering to budget limitations.”

Studio NYL has grown quickly over the last five years, adding projects to its portfolio that encompass multiple city blocks, with budgets of more than $300 million. The firm’s Colorado successes have also led to larger commissions throughout the United States, and today some of the firm’s biggest commissions come from outside the country. Notable international projects include the Liverpool Interlomas and Chedraui Santa Fe Flagship Stores and Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City.

Recent in-state work includes Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center Theatre Remodel in Fort Collins, the Kent Denver Performing Arts Center in Denver, the Boulder Regional Fire Training Center and the Windsor Police Station in Windsor.

Studio NYL is currently working on Phase 2 of CSU’s Lory Student Center, the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Science Pavilion, 245 Columbine in Cherry Creek, the Jackson Hole Airport façade in Jackson, Wyo., and the Charleston Airport façade in Charleston, S.C.

Studio NYL has won several industry honor awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ “Contribution to the Built Environment” award from AIA’s Boulder, Denver and Colorado chapters. The firm was also the recipient of the Boulder County Business Report’s Mercury 100 Award in 2012 and 2013.