Modern Living: The Biggest Dome

"Let each new temple, nobler than the last," wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, "shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast!" Poet Holmes was referring to mansions of the soul, but he might well have been prophesying today's pharaonic era of sports-stadium construction, in which city after city vies to encapsulate its populace in ever nobler temples and vaster domes.

This week, a decade after Houston opened its Astrodome and pronounced it the Eighth Wonder of the World, New Orleans will stage the "grand opening" of its 97,365-capacity Louisiana Superdome, which could absorb...

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