Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

One World Trade Center declared USA's tallest building


November 13, 2013

CTBUH declared the One World Trade Center the tallest in the USA (Photo: Wikipedia)

CTBUH declared the One World Trade Center the tallest in the USA (Photo: Wikipedia)

Image Gallery (5 images)

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has declared New York's still-unfinished One World Trade Center to be the tallest building in the USA, and for that matter, the entire western hemisphere. The skyscraper ranks third tallest in the world, behind Mecca's Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which measures some 1,972 ft (601 m) tall, and Dubai's mammoth 2,717 ft (828 m) Burj Khalifa.

In honor of the year that the United States made its Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, the height of the skyscraper is 1,776 ft (541 m), and thus edges out Chicago's 1,451 ft (442 m) Willis Tower – formerly the Sears tower – as the United State's tallest building. CTBUH's decision was not made without controversy, however.

The issue revolves around whether the top section of the One World Trade Center is a true spire (permanent structure), or an antenna (subject to change). If deemed the latter, One World Trade Center would have officially measured "only" 1,368 ft (416 m), thus ruining both the Declaration of Independence theme, and perhaps more importantly, placing it lower than Chicago's Willis Tower.

Following discussions with the designers and time spent studying the drawings and plans, CTBUH was duly satisfied that the top section can indeed be considered a spire, as it was demonstrated to be sufficiently permanent and integral to the design.

Alas, even this didn't put an end to the great height question though, as the waters were further muddied by a minor fourth entrance that sits slightly lower than the main lobby. If measured from this point, the building would surpass the symbolic height of 1,776 ft by almost 6 ft.

This final stumbling block was resolved when CTBUH determined that the fourth entrance was not significant enough to be considered as a measurement point, thus paving the way for the eventual decision that the One World Trade Center absolutely, positively, measures exactly 1,776 ft.

Source: CTBUH

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

It seems silly to me to count spires but not antennas, but what do I know?

Keith Lamb

Height should be measured by occupyable space. I don't become 6'6" by donning a top hat.

Suspicious Chihuahua

As pointed out in the CTBUH webpage, building heights can be measured in different categories. The use of spires and the like seems like a "cheap" way of gaining fame. For such an iconic building as the One World Trade Center, it is beyond me how a decision could be not to build it to be the highest in America in all categories. Especially when we are only talking another measly 125 ft.


Suspicious Chihuahua: LOL, I own a nice dandy top hat when I do Mister Ebeneezer Scrooge. Now that you mention it, my height still stays the same when I wear it, in all actuality. Humbug to you Sir!


What you call a cop-out!.


Chicago's mayor was right-"If it looks like a antenna,acts like a antenna,it is a antenna." What a bad joke by this association of clowns. I second that motion: it's a cheap cop out."


The spire isn't an antenna, it's a mast that supports antennas. It's part of the building.

Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles