Architect Kamil Szoltysek will be leaving GHA on Monday after two years in the Birmingham office. However, it is not pastures new at another practice that await him but open roads, as he will be undertaking a cycle trip from his home town in Poland… all the way to Japan.
During his time at GHA Kamil has worked on a variety of projects including Bloc Hotel, New Garden Square, NMA Pavilion and i9 in Wolverhampton.
His next project is on a considerably different scale. Kamil and his girlfriend Weronika (an animator and art therapist) will set off on a year-long adventure that will take in over 15 countries along the Silk Route. They will depart from Bielsko-Biała in mid-May and travel via countries including Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and South Korea, before finally arriving in Japan. Accommodation for the trip will take the form of camping and couch-surfing.
It is not simply about visiting new places as Kamil explains: “when traveling, we do not plan much, we allow events to happen and the way to take us through new places, countries and adventures.
We do not want to go empty-handed. It is important for us to give something from each other. Our journey will be a search for local stories and an exchange, during which we will show Polish animated films in Polonial centers.”
Although they have never completed a trip of quite this distance before, Kamil is no stranger to feats of endurance. In 2017 he was part of the 11-strong GHA team who undertook the 52-mile Ridgewalk in aid of the charity Sense, with whom GHA worked on the TouchBase Pears centre in Selly Oak, Birmingham. Not only was Kamil the first person to complete the walk, he set a course record and caught the organisers off-guard as they were still setting up the finish line as he arrived!
You can find out more about their trip, and follow their progress via their website, Facebook and Instagram. The name of the project/website/social media accounts is “Przed nami” which means “Before us / Ahead of us” in all Slavic languages.
Good luck Kamil and Weronika!