1 WTC’s tallest building status is in jeopardy

May 10, 2012 08:30AM

An alteration to the design of the spire atop 1 World Trade Center could work against the tower’s bid to be the tallest structure in America, the New York Times reported. In January, the Durst Organization confirmed it was removing the fiberglass and steel casing (known as the radome) around the mast, that would have brought the the 400-foot pole to 23 feet in diameter. Without the cladding the diameter of the spire would be just six feet, rendering it unlikely to be counted as part of the building’s height by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

“This definitely raises questions,” said Kevin Brass, the public affairs manager for the council. “Our criteria are very specific. We include spires and not antennas. If this is an antenna, it won’t be part of the height measurement. The cladding was an integral part of the design and made the extension part of the permanent look and feel of the building.”

Without the spire, the building is 1,368 feet tall — shorter than both the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

While the chief architect of the original design, David Childs, criticized Durst’s decision and laments the fact that the symbolic 1,776-foot height is in jeopardy, the developer has a two-part rationale for the altered plan. In addition to saving it $20 million in development cost, it also lifts the burden of having to maintain a more complex structure a quarter mile in the sky. [NYT]