Lower Manhattan’s 1 World Trade Center was deemed the tallest tower in the U.S. by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which ruled that the skyscraper’s 408-foot spire is part of its architecture.
The group’s height committee decided that the tower’s official height is 1,776 feet, Timothy Johnson, chairman of the council, said at a press conference today in New York. That surpasses Chicago’s Willis Tower, at 1,451 feet, as the country’s tallest.
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One World Trade Center, scheduled for completion in January, will be the second skyscraper to open at Ground Zero, where terrorists destroyed the twin towers 12 years ago. The building’s height including the spire was chosen by Daniel Libeskind, the master-plan architect for the 16-acre site, as a symbolic reference to the year the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. The mast is meant to be part of tower’s artistic design, rather than a piece of technical equipment, the Council on Tall Buildings said.
“The design of One World Trade Center, as explained to us, reinforces its role as a symbol of resurgence on this important site,” Antony Wood, an executive director on the council, said in a statement. “The spire which holds the beacon light, shining out at the symbolic height of 1,776 feet, is especially poignant.”
Upon completion, the building would be the third-tallest in the world, according to the Chicago-based council, a global organization of real estate professionals including landlords, developers, architects and engineers. It ranks behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 2,717 feet, and Mecca, Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which rises to 1,972 feet.
Willis Tower, built in 1973 and formerly known as the Sears Tower, is poised to be the world’s 10th tallest, according to the council. One World Trade Center won’t officially claim its status until it is declared complete, Johnson said.
One World Trade Center’s 1,776-foot height has been “an unwavering principal” of the building’s design, according to a statement today from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Durst Organization, which are developing the tower, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, its architect.
“Today’s decision recognizes One World Trade Center’s rightful place in history,” they said.
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