Architecture: A Porch for Pedestrians

In most recent U.S. urban building, the rule has been every man for himself. With no overall plan, the architect has too often stopped his concern at the property line. Occasionally, as a civic gesture, a building will draw back to leave space for a prestige plaza or a fountain or two. But the impression is still that of a battle of towers, much like Renaissance Bologna's, where each noble family vied to build a taller battlement from which to frown and, on occasion, bombard one another.

A sparkling exception to the rule is Minneapolis' Northwestern National Life Insurance Co. headquarters....

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