Julka grew up in Amsterdam, the child of a Dutchwoman and a Czech architect. There are architects and engineers on both sides of the family, yet she initially studied law, perhaps in order to try something completely different. It was not a success. After a year of plodding along without any sense of motivation, she switched to architecture at the TU Delft and took to it like a duck to water.
‘My focus soon came to lie on the combination of things of all different scales that are at play simultaneously in complex design tasks in an urban setting. From town planning and abstraction to the physical and detailed. I’m enthusiastic about the search for a solution that’s not a dismal consequence of compromises but a true discovery, that makes a space optimal for everything and everyone.’
Julka stayed in Delft for her master’s and graduated with a design for an ambitious cultural project, an art space in Rotterdam Zuid that is accessible and specially geared to people with disabilities, whether in their mobility or in the form of visual impairments or deafness.
At ZJA she is happy to be able to work on big, complex public assignments, in which different disciplines need to collaborate closely. She likes best of all to work on special projects that have hardly any precedents, because the demands they make are unique. Examples at ZJA include the Diamond Exchange and the casino in the dunes at Middelkerke.
‘I want most of all to learn a lot here. I want to increase my knowledge of construction, building technology and parametric design, so that I can make an even better contribution to a team.’
If you ask what she likes doing best in her free time, then sport comes first (hockey, cycling and running), followed by looking at things (art, cities and architecture). Photography is her favourite way of expressing it all.