Last week I was in Ottawa for a family funeral, staying in a hotel down the street from the U.S. embassy. The embassy, which succeeds a beautiful building designed by Cass Gilbert in the 1930s, was designed in 1999 by SOM in its post-modernist mode; limestone and stainless steel, neither modern nor really traditional. What struck me was the security barrier that was being built around the building—it looked strong enough to stop a Sherman tank. But this is Ottawa’s ByWard Market, not the Green Zone! Embassies are supposed to stand for national values; this one looks both forbidding and craven.