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Bika Rebek: Berlin, Museumsquartier, and Bikes

By Julia Gamolina
June 2019
Madame Architect

City: Berlin. I lived in Berlin briefly in my early twenties and it was a very intense experience. I worked as an intern at Graft Architects during the day and held a full-time position exploring the dance clubs at night. I think the raw energy of the city, the contrast between east and west, the anarchists and the corporate hacks, the bourgeois and Bergain is what makes this city so seductive and attractive to creatives and clubbers alike.

Building: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida. I am currently working on a project there and it really is a Gesamtkunstwerk – it’s a place that is so unique, personal yet universally beautiful at the same time. It certainly borders on kitsch, but I love how daring and uncompromising, playful and ridiculous it is at the same time.

Book:  Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. A great book in terms of mixing personal experiences with history, science, self-help and speculation.

Public space: Museumsquartier in Vienna. Set within former royal horse stables, the Museumsquartier has now become a cultural center, with museums, bars and theaters occupying the spaces around. As a kid I used to play within the the abandoned ruins of the horse stables. Now, it is all modernized and has a different vibe, but I still like it in its reincarnation as a modern cultural hub. Through large urban furniture called Enzi it has become a popular spot to drink outside and hang out.  

Architect (that is also a woman): Denise Scott Brown. I met Denise a few years ago and she said to me, “I am architecture's grandmother and I am here to tuck it in.” While I am still trying to figure out what she meant by that, I became a big fan of her ideas, projects and personality. I think that the work of VSBA (Venturi Scott Brown Architects) is often misunderstood, because it has become associated with an aesthetic that has recently seen a resurgence on a very superficial level. What makes Denise Scott Brown truly interesting are here ideas about urbanism, adaptive reuse, and respect for the mundane.  

Artist: Oliver Laric. Oliver Laric scans sculptures and historic objects and recreates them using contemporary fabrication methods. I like the way he is recontextualizing old works and bringing them to a different audience. His work has strongly influenced my interest in replicas and thinking about access in museums.

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