Chris O'Hara

Principal | Facade Directior at Studio NYL

Biography

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Chris is a keynote for FTI World Congress '24! See more here.

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Founding Principal of Studio NYL and Facade Director at the Skins Group

Boulder, CO

Chris O’Hara, PE has a passion for architecture. He particularly enjoys working on buildings that incorporate structures and skins into a holistic building design.

Chris began his career in New York. Early in his career, while with M.G. McLaren Consulting Engineers, Chris was exposed to unique structural engineering projects in addition to more conventional building systems. Some of the unique projects included amusement park rides, waterfront and floating structures, theatrical rigging, and façade and structural glazing projects. Notable amongst these are the Rose Center for Earth and Space, Twister Ride it Out, and the Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon Tour. The diverse experience at this time exposed Chris to less common structural systems and concepts.

This experience led to the position of Associate in the start-up office in New York of Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, a London-based firm. While helping establish this new office, Chris worked primarily with Rafael Viñoly on projects including the Kimmel Center, David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the Watson Institute. Other notable projects at this time included the Starlight Theatre, 2003 European Cultural Exhibit and many structural glazing projects with architects including the Polshek Partnership and Kohn Pedersen Fox.

At this time Chris developed many aspects of the collaborative approach that is a corner-stone of Studio NYL. On many of the above projects Chris participated in the competition prior to the architect successfully winning the project. While working with Rafael Viñoly, Chris and his entire project team worked in the same office with the architectural team while investigating many of the innovative structural systems that are the trademark of Viñoly buildings.

Prior to moving to Colorado, Chris worked with the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) leading a team of four engineers working at the World Trade Center site assessing structures and assisting rescue attempts on site with structural advice regarding safety.

Currently Chris remains active in the engineering and design community. He is a board member of the Structural Engineers Association of Colorado’s (SEAC) committees for Emergency Response and Architectural Liaison. Chris has been a guest lecturer at both CU Boulder and Denver for both Architecture and Engineering. Chris also leads design workshops on the Structural Use of Glass and other innovative structural engineering systems.