Environment: Those Window Pains

The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s $95 million headquarters in Boston may be the most famous new building in the U.S.—and all because of its window pains. The 60-story tower is supposed to be sheathed with 10,344 windows of a double-paned insulating glass that reflect the Copley Square surroundings. Trouble is, about 3,500 of those windows have cracked, and some of them have even fallen off the building, delaying occupancy for months.

As word of the window woes spread, suggestions began to flow to Hancock executives from all over the nation. A Cleveland man proposed boring tiny holes in each pane...

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