Ich bin ein Happy Camper

by John Murphy, AIA of Meditch Murphy Architects, Chevy Chase, MD

“Why?” you ask.

Because, meine Dammen und Herren, I just returned from the COD’s recent conference in Berlin, entitled Berlin: The Origins of Modernism: Berlin Dessau Potsdam.

It was my first ever COD conference and, let me tell you, I was on cloud neun…I mean nein…no, I mean….nine….that’s cloud nine!  I – was – on – cloud  – nine.

Take iconic architecture, add cutting edge bravado, shake well, garnish with thought provoking presentations and serve immediately to a jovial and thirsty crowd.

A few delicious moments spring immediately to mind…

..…singing Tex Ritter’s great “Do Not Forsake Me, O My Darlin’ ” from High Noon with Billie, one of our terrific German hosts, and a huge Gary Cooper fan.

…..recalling, with Sönke Magnus Muller, another of our German hosts – and a big time Billy Wilder fan – two hilarious post-war comedies, One, Two, Three and A Foreign Affair.

..…scribbling frantically as host Barbara Hoidn reveals the ins and outs of participating in  architectural competitions in Berlin.

…..defying gravity on Florian Koehl’s incredible disappearing balcony.

…..soaking in the mellow vibes of the lone cellist practicing in the Philharmonie – see the fantastic video by Tom Rossiter, FAIA.

…..playing a game called what would Mies do? with architects from David Chipperfield’s Berlin office over wine and enchiladas at their very own office bistro – yup, they have their very own bistro.

..and slapping my forehead in astonishment realizing that all those buildings Nickolaus Pevsner was showing us in his text books….hey, they’re really there!

Well, after exchanging countless are-we-lucky-or-what? looks with my 99 American colleagues – yes, that’s right, we were 100 American architects! – it became clear to me that this COD outfit has clout – some serious major league clout. Doors open. Heels click. And we get the top of the line up.

So, meine Dammen und Herren, for next year’s double header – New York in the spring and London in the fall – i’m in!

John Murphey
1 November 2013


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