Architecture: Modern Medici

To most it would have seemed a stroke of calamity; to Belgian Baron Léon Lambert it was an act of providence. One wintry day in 1956, as the youthful baron's plane touched down at Brussels' airport, his brother rushed to tell him that the marble-columned 18th century mansion that had housed the venerable Banque Lambert for three generations had burned to the ground. But the old building had long since become too cramped to contain the mushrooming Lambert operation, which in the past ten years has quintupled deposits to $203 million and added 26 branches. And the fire at...

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