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 photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  2. A rendering of a co-living building in San Jose.
    Life

    The Largest Co-Living Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose

    The startup Starcity plans to build an 800-unit, 18-story “dorm for adults” to help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce.

  3. a photo of a striking Uber/Lyft driver
    Transportation

    Uber and Lyft Really Don’t Want California to Pass This Worker Rights Bill

    As California considers a gig-work bill to make ride-hailing drivers employees eligible for benefits and bargaining rights, Uber and Lyft ask for compromise.

  4. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks At Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  5. Maps

    The History of Barcelona, in 26 Interactive Maps

    Flip through the key chapters in the city's life from 150 A.D. to 2010.

×