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Inga Saffron is the Architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The first time Omar Blaik met with residents of West Philadelphia's Spruce Hill neighborhood to discuss his proposal for a large, new apartment house on Baltimore Avenue, he did something unusual in the high-stakes world of real estate development: He showed up without a PowerPoint.
How will students living in Temple University's deluxe new Morgan Hall dorm ever be able to concentrate? Its 27-story tower is now the tallest building north of City Hall and, even from a middle floor, Philadelphia's downtown skyline looks as if it had been laid out on a platter. Students can pan all the way from the Delaware River to Fairmount Park and peek into Montgomery County. Should they tire of gazing outside, every suite is equipped with a 42-inch flat-screen TV.