Mark Lennihan/AP

At an "official" height of 1,776 feet, the new skyscraper supplants Chicago's Willis Tower. 

Sorry, Chicago. One World Trade Center has officially been named the tallest building in the United States.

The announcement was made this morning by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which makes the final calls on building heights around the world. After closed-door deliberation by an international panel of architects, the Council decided the new World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire will in fact count towards its final height, since the spire is a permanent part of the building. So at an official height of 1,776 feet, it steals the title from the 1,451-foot Willis Tower in Chicago.

The crucial 408-foot spire is also key to the symbolic power of the new skyscraper, conceived as a monument to all those who perished on 9/11. The 1,776-foot height honors America’s founding year and is intended to stand as a renewed declaration of independence. Without the spire, the new tower would be 1,368 feet, the height of the original World Trade Center.

The spire may be indeed be “vanity height” — what the CTBUH calls uninhabitable space atop skyscrapers — but in this case symbolism has won out in the end.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California’s Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over vacancy in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×