Firm History

Our practice began in the Washington DC metro area, opening our first office in Vienna, Virginia in 1973. 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.


Serving a diverse group of clients such as major retail chains, banks and restaurant chains, we provided both architectural design as well as structural engineering for our projects. A few years after the firm began we expanded our design focus to include churches and schools. We also expanded our geographic area of service, opening an office in Charles Town, West Virginia. This allowed us to better serve our clients in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Over the next several decades, we established ourselves as experts in serving religious, educational and other institutional communities, while also enjoying many repeat clients in the food service, banking, and commercial industries. 1998 saw the addition of John Recny to our firm. His extensive experience in working with religious communities enhanced our ability to serve these clients. He became a partner in 2008. In 2013, David and John decided to change our firm’s name to “Helbing Lipp Recny Architects”, to recognize the success of the founders while establishing a direction for the firm’s future. When David stepping down at the end of 2016 John has taken full reins of the firm moving forward.

One aspect of our firm has never changed, though. All of our design services uphold high ethical values, practicality and common sense. These have been the cornerstones of our practice for over 40 years and will remain the cornerstones as long as the firm exists.