The new World Trade Center tower in New York replaced Chicago's Willis Tower as the nation's tallest building when an international panel of architects announced Tuesday that the needle atop the skyscraper can be counted when measuring the structure's height.
The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said the needle is not an antenna but a spire, and thus is a permanent part of the building.
The needle, measuring 408 feet tall, was more than enough to confirm Chicago is the Second City when it comes to tall buildings.
With the needle, 1 World Trade Center is a symbolically important 1,776 feet tall. Without it, the building would have been only 1,368 feet tall — well short of the 1,451-foot Willis Tower.
At stake was more than just bragging rights in two cities that feast on superlatives and the tourist dollars that might follow: 1 World Trade Center stands as a monument to those killed in the 9/11 attacks, and its architects had sought to capture the echo of America's founding year in the structure's height.
"The committee was well aware of the gravity of the situation," Antony Wood, the council's executive director, said during a news conference in Chicago.
The building's 1,368 feet height without the needle also holds symbolism; it is the height of the original World Trade Center. ...more