Architects call 9/11 memorial tower’s height into question

BY newsdesk  November 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM EST

On May 10, One World Trade Center became the tallest building in the United States, when its final component — a spire — was installed. However, the tower’s true height is now being called into question by a committee of architects meeting Friday in Chicago.

The committee must decide if the skyscraper’s 408-foot needle should count toward the tower’s total height. If the architects decide the spire cannot be included, Chicago’s Willis Tower, formerly named the Sears Tower, would be dubbed the highest skyscraper in the U.S.

But for the designers and architects of One World Trade Center, the height of the tower is more significant than a national record.
The skyscraper stands as a memorial to the lives lost during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. The building, formally known as the Freedom Tower, stretches to a symbolic height of 1,776 feet — a reference to the date the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Without the needle the building measures only 1,368 feet.

Under the current rules, a spire must serve an integral purpose to the building in order to be included in total height. According to the architectural firm behind the One World Trade Center design, the needle will include a communications platform for television and radio equipment, in addition to a LED beacon that will send out a horizontal light for miles.

The committee will announce its decision next week.