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HKP Partner Explores Europe

Posted November 7th, 2019 by HKP Architects

HKP Architects’ Partner Julie Blazek, AIA, LEED AP, embarked on an incredible summer trip to Europe in June. Back at the office, we all enjoyed the photos of her travels on the HKP instagram page and once she returned, we sat down with her to discover what she loved most from her time in Europe.

HKP Architects’ Partner Julie Blazek, AIA, LEED AP, summer trip to Europe

Where in Europe did you visit and why?


My wife and I visited Scotland, England and France.  We had wanted to go back to France again and when it was announced that the Women’s World Cup (WWC) was being hosted there, it was an easy excuse to make plans. 


Our trips usually center around great art, design, and food. We decided to make a longer trip out of it and pack in some time in the UK as well.  Starting in Scotland, we were inspired by some old and new favorite architects and the Scottish artist Andrew Goldsworthy.  Other stops on our route included Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh.  


From there we traveled south through England, stopping in Liverpool, the Cotswolds, Oxford and London. We managed to see a lot in England, visiting the Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Bodleian Library, the House of Illustration, Greenwich Festival (outdoor performing arts) and of course, the classic London architectural wonders.


Traveling via the Chunnel for the first time, we made our way to Paris where we saw our first WWC match (USA 3 – Chile 0)! We also took in the Centre Pompidou, the Atelier of Illumination, walked along the Seine for views of Notre Dame since the fire, and enjoyed walking through the Marais neighborhood, where we typically like to stay.  


From there we took the train to Giverny to see Monet’s house and gardens. We spent the last bit of the trip in Honfleur, on the northern coast, with a day trip to Mont Saint Michele and the second WWC match in La Havre (USA 2 – Sweden 0).  

Mont Saint Michel

What were your most memorable experiences on your trip?


It’s really hard to narrow it down, but I would have to say, having high tea in Mackintosh’s Willow Tea Room in Glasgow, the Verdant Jute Factory Museum in Dundee, experiencing the amazing beauty and wonder of Mont Saint Michele and happening upon a free opening party for a new Keith Haring exhibit at the Tate Liverpool were some of my top highlights. 


Naturally, seeing the US women play in France was an amazing opportunity, especially seeing all the excited young girls from the States whose parents brought them all this way to support the team and the sport.


Did you see or experience anything that you would like to incorporate into HKP’s practice?


There is an incredible beauty in interjecting modern architecture into historic buildings and some of my favorite spaces, whether they be museums of places where we stayed, blended modern design with the beauty of the old structures, patterns and materials.  I love the respect for the old, with the contrast and beautiful integration of modern touches.  This is an opportunity that I see HKP being able to incorporate more in our work with historic buildings, where it is appropriate.


What was your favorite meal during your trip?


I can’t narrow it down to one, so I will give you my top three:

  •  Darjeeling Express, London (Met Chef Asma Khan, who has been featured on Chef’s Table and who has an all female kitchen and a fund to help pay for Indian second daughters birthday parties – an inspiration)
  •  Cucina, Edinburgh, fabulous Italian
  •  Tintilou, Paris, for our 10th anniversary


What architecture were you thrilled to see?