Art: Opening Nights

During the past decade, the U.S. State Department has tried to put its best facade forward in building more than 30 new embassies and consulates.

In The Hague, Marcel Breuer built a blunt, lantern-windowed structure as stolid as a Dutch door. In Athens, Walter Gropius used the same Pentelic marble that forms the Parthenon. Edward Durell Stone's grillwork adorns New Delhi like a Hindu temple. In Baghdad, José Luis Sert put up a tentlike structure fit for a caliph and cooled by channels of river water. Saarinen warmed his Oslo embassy with teak screens; Yamasaki lightened his Kobe consulate with airy...

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