One World Trade Center has been judged the tallest building in the western hemisphere by the “official” ruling body of such matters. Sorry, Chicago.
The nonprofit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat—the accepted arbiter on matters of skyscraper height—on Tuesday ruled that the spire atop One World Trade Center counts toward the official “architectural” height, making the new tower the tallest building in the U.S., at 1,776 feet. “We determined the structure above the mass of the building was in fact a spire,” said Timothy Johnson, the council’s chairman. At issue was whether the One World Trade’s 408-foot steel mast is considered a “spire” that is part of the building’s architecture. A structural spire counts toward the height; but an antenna doesn’t. The council’s guidelines are brief, calling for buildings to be measured to their “architectural top,” including spires but not antennas or other functional equipment. Last week Mr. Childs flew to Chicago to urge the council to count the mast as a spire, saying the symbolic height was a key part of the design.
According to the council, by far the tallest building in the world is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at 163 floors and 2717 feet. When completed, it appears that One World Trade Center will rank at third on that list, although several other super-skyscrapers are also presently under construction.