Joseph Rodota's new book The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address(William Morrow) presents the story of a building complex whose name is recognized around the world as the address at the center of the United States' greatest political scandal—but one that has so many more tales to tell. In this excerpt from the book, the author looks into the design and construction of a building The Washington Post once called a "glittering Potomac Titanic," a description granted because the Watergate was ahead of its time, filled with boldface names—and ultimately doomed.
On the evening of October 25, 1965, the grand opening of the Watergate was held for fifteen-hundred guests. Luigi Moretti, the architect, flew in from Rome. Other executives came from Mexico, where the Watergate developer, the Italian real estate giant known as Societa Generale Immobiliare, was planning a community outside Mexico City, and from Montreal, where the company was erecting the tallest concrete-and-steel skyscraper in Canada, designed by Moretti and another Italian, Pier Luigi Nervi.