Helena McElmeel Architects is a design focused architectural practice with a portfolio of beautiful buildings. Our skilled team brings years of experience to ensure high quality projects and design solutions, regardless of scale or budget. We enjoy the challenges of new briefs, and designing and delivering diverse building types and spaces with a focus on proper low energy building and sustainability.
The practice’s work has featured in numerous publications, and was awarded the Sustainability Award for a Single Building or Development in Building and Architect of the Year Awards 2017.

Our Approach

We listen to our clients to fully understand their requirements and vision for the project. We work closely with them to develop the brief if necessary, and to explore design strategies and solutions that seek to surpass expectations while ensuring value and respecting budgets. Our bespoke designs come from a response to place – we study and analyse the physical and environmental context of each site, the light, the views, its history and potential. This allows us to design imaginative buildings and craft beautiful spaces that are specific to every client and every site. Many of our projects are in challenging planning environments and our planning success rate reflects our unique design approach. Sustainability is an integral part of our design process, not just an add-on. We incorporate passive design principles into all our designs. Our passion for design informs every detail of our projects, large or small, as we strive to deliver quality buildings for our clients that are elegant, durable and timeless.


Passive House Plus Spiddal

Passive House Plus Lacklea

The Schoolhouse Project

The Schoolhouse Project

The Schoolhouse Project

The Schoolhouse Project


Building & Architect of the Year Awards

Building & Architect of the Year Awards

Our team


Dip.Arch. B.Arch.Sc MSc.Arch.:AEES PG Dip. Proj. Mgt.CPHD WELL AP MRIAI

Registered Architect/Director
Passive House Designer

Helena founded the practice in 2011 and is the principal architect and creative director. She has 20 years’ experience and previously worked in practices in Galway and Mayo where she designed a diverse range of projects, such as the Citypoint (TK Maxx) building in Galway city, very high specification low energy private houses, masterplans and Area Action Plans, and a Belltower at St. Patrick’s Church Ballina, which was commended in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards.
Helena began her architectural education in Dublin Institute of Technology, graduating in 2002, and was awarded a distinction in her MSc in Architecture: Advanced Energy and Environmental Studies in 2013. She is an Architect Accredited in Conservation at Grade III and has completed the RIAI SHW Project Supervisor Design Process training. She represented the Western Region on the RIAI Council from 2009 to 2011, and is currently an active member of Galway County Council’s Community and Culture Strategic Policy Committee. She has a PG Diploma in Project Management from Trinity College Dublin, is a Certified Passive House Designer and also a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP).
Helena’s design work has featured in many publications, and she has been invited to lecture at architectural and low energy building conferences and CPD events. She won the RIAI 3Twenty10 Research competition for her work relating to energy retrofits and post occupancy evaluation. Presently, she is an Adjunct Lecturer in NUI Galway teaching architecture and urban planning part-time. Helena contributes to several voluntary groups in her free time, including Headford Town Team, Headford and District Association and the RIAI Sustainability Taskforce.


B.Arch  CPHD  WELL AP  MRIAI …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Registered Architect
Passive House Designer

Owen is a RIAI Registered Architect having completed his Professional Diploma in Architecture at UCD. Following his Bachelor in Architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2005, he has gained over 10 years’ experience working on a wide range of project types including Residential, Master Planning, Commercial and Fit-Out. He has worked in practices in Ireland and Canada on both large and small scale projects.
Owen is also a Certified Passive House Designer with a passion for sustainable design at all stages of the architectural process and takes a considered & unique approach to all projects. He has a keen interest in the health and well-being of building users and is a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) with the International WELL Building Institute. Also qualified in organic horticulture, he is enthusiastic about the benefits of edible landscaping and the integration of urban agriculture projects into our built environment. He enjoys hiking and swimming in his spare time.


B.Arch., BIM AG, M.Arch., CPHD, MRIAI …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Registered Architect
Passive House Designer

Olga is a Registered Architect and became a member of the RIAI in 2018. She graduated from the Porto School of Architecture in 2006 and in 2009 she earned a Master Degree in Bioclimatic Architecture with Honours. She has lived and worked in Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Austria.
Olga is fully committed to excellence in architectural design and ecological responsibility and has a particular interest in low energy and passive house design. She has completed a High Diploma in BIM and is a certified BIM AG. She has experience in the residential and commercial sectors, urban regeneration and public engagement, and is also a Certified Passive House Designer.
Olga has brought her dog along for most of her travels through Europe, and now they are enjoying discovering the West Coast one beach at a time.


Dip.Arch., MRIAI

Registered Architect

Graduating from DIT Bolton Street in 1996 and becoming registered with the RIAI in 2001, Fergal worked on projects of various scales from large scale urban development, public sector sports and educational developments to private houses before setting up his own practice in 2006. Fergal also worked in set design for film and television for a number of years before joining the practice in 2019. Working with conservation architects and film crafts people has generated an interest in conservation, restoration and current low energy demands on construction techniques.


B.Sc.Arch.Tech, BIM AG

Architectural Technologist

Galway born Architectural Technologist, Declan graduated from GMIT in 2018 with First Class Honours. He added to his qualifications with a Higher Diploma in BIM with Distinction in 2020.
Declan strives for excellence in architectural detailing, ensuring sustainability is at the forefront of product specification and has a passion for 3D Modelling and Passive Detailing. He has been adding to his experience in the residential and commercial sectors in his time here so far, ranging from conservation residential buildings to large scale retail units. He has been to the forefront in the practice becoming an EcoMerit Certified Company and developing our One Planet Living Plan.
Declan is involved in athletics and has discovered a love for hiking. He has a passion for photography, his favourite subject to capture being nature, particularly the dramatic coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way.


MA(Hons) DipArch MRIAI

Registered Architect

Blair is a Registered Architect, graduating from Edinburgh University in 1996, and registering with the RIAI in 2004. Blair has gained over 25 years’ experience on projects ranging from small scale residential and refurbishments and extensions, one-off houses, to large scale educational, residential, and commercial developments, working on projects through the complete design and construction processes. He is an Architect Accredited in Conservation at Grade III, and has worked on conservation projects of varying scale and complexity. He has also completed the IOSH Project Supervisor Design Stage training as well as the IOSH Managing Safely training.
Blair previously ran his own practice for five years and joined the practice in 2021.
Blair enjoys walking, cycling, and sailing along Ireland’s west coast when not in the office.



Administrator/ Sustainability Coordinator

Sarah has completed her MSc in Climate Change at Dublin City University and is the practice lead in coordinating our sustainability plans in alignment with the One Planet Living Framework Training and the EcoMerit Certification. She also plays a key role in the day to day administration of the office.

Outside of the office in her spare time she enjoys painting, hiking as well as cooking and baking.


B.Arch., M.Arch.

Urban & Architectural Designer

Alessandra is an Italian architectural graduate who joined Helena McElmeel Architects in September 2020.

Born and raised in Rome, she graduated from “La Sapienza” University in 2017, and in 2020 she earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Design, with Honours, from the University of “Roma Tre”. She has also successfully completed her Italian State professional qualification in Architecture.

Alessandra has a strong passion for public spaces and public life, she is particularly interested in strategic planning and human-centered design and is heartily dedicated to delivering safe, inclusive, and enjoyable public spaces. She was Design Ambassador in the Co-Design Initiative called Design Lab, which was an Arts Council funded project that was facilitated by Architecture at the Edge and Matt+Fiona. She is also involved in extension and refurbishment projects in our practice.

She enjoys spending her free time reading, cooking, swimming and taking long walks or cycle rides across Ireland’s beautiful landscapes.


B.Arch., M.Arch.

Architectural Designer

Sofia is a Ukrainian architectural graduate who joined Helena McElmeel Architects in April 2022. Born and raised in Lviv, she graduated from Lviv Polytechnic National University in 2017 and in 2018 finished her Master’s Degree in Architecture and Restoration with Honours. Sofia participated in the Double Diploma Program during the second year of her Master’s Degree at Lviv Polytechnic National University, a shared programme with Lviv Polytechnic and Lublin University of Technology, sponsored by UNESCO. As a result, in 2019 she earned her second Master’s Degree in Diagnosis and Repair of Buildings at Lublin University of Technology. Until the start of 2022, she was working on the refurbishment & renewal project of the Drohobych saltworks (the oldest factory in Ukraine) with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. Sofia also has a passion for 3D Modelling and digital art.

Outside of the office in her spare time, she enjoys hiking, cycling, and swimming as well as reading and sketching.