Firm History

Our practice began in the Washington DC metro area, opening our first office in Vienna, Virginia in 1978. The firm was founded as “Helbing Lipp Ltd. Architects Engineers” by David Lipp, an architect and interior designer, and Thomas Helbing, an architect and structural engineer. They served a diverse group of commercial clients including banks, retail stores, and chain restaurants, around the DC metro area.

As time went on, we expanded our design focus to include churches and schools. We also opened a branch office in Charles Town, West Virginia, to better serve our clients in the Eastern Panhandle region.  We established ourselves as experts in serving religious, educational and other institutional communities, while also continuing our successful relationships with repeat clients in the food service, banking, and commercial industries.

1998 saw the addition of John Recny to our firm. His professional dedication to working with faith communities enhanced our ability to serve these clients. He became a partner in 2008, and in 2013 our firm’s name was changed to “Helbing Lipp Recny Architects”, now known as HLR Architects.  Tom retired in 2013, and David followed in 2016.  Since that time, John has moved the firm forward while maintaining the high ethical values, practicality and common sense that have always been the cornerstones of our practice.