The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has official ruled Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s One World Trade Center (1WTC) as the tallest building in the United States. The decision comes after a long debate questioned whether or not the tower’s 408 foot spire should count towards its overall height.
As CTBUH explained: “Due to design changes that resulted in the removal of the architectural cladding around the mast at the top of the structure, it became unclear whether the structure was in fact a ‘spire’ – a vertical element that completes the architectural expression of the building and is intended as permanent, or whether it was an antenna – a piece of functional-technical equipment that was subject to change.”
The detailed information presented by the design team “affirmed that the structure on top of the building is meant as a permanent architectural feature, not a piece of functional-technical equipment,” stated Timothy Johnson, Chairman of CTBUH and Design Partner at NBBJ.
“The design of One World Trade Center, as explained to us, reinforces its role as a symbol of resurgence on this important site,” said CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood. “In particular, the spire which holds the beacon light, shining out at the symbolic height of 1,776 feet, is especially poignant – echoing the similarly symbolic beacon atop the Statue of Liberty across the water.”
When complete in early 2014, 1WTC will surpass The Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago as the Tallest Building in North America. At 1,776 feet (541 meters), 1WTC will likely be the third-tallest building in the world upon completion, after the 2,717 foot (828 meters) Burj Khalifa in Dubai and 1,972 foot (601 meters) Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia.