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One World Trade reaches its peak. (Courtesy Port Authority)
Anticipation was running as high as the tower itself as construction crews were standing by to raise the final two sections of the spire to the top of One World Trade Center today, a move that would have officially made the tower the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet, but high winds brought on delays. The final two sections of the 408-foot-tall spire, capped by a shining, pointed beacon, were scheduled to rise this afternoon, but the Port Authority decided to wait for for clearer skies to top-off the tower.
Antenna segments lifted to the top of One World Trade. (Courtesy Governor Cuomo)
After a 1,500-nautical-mile voyage from Canada, half of the World Trade Center‘s antenna has arrived in New York, and, this morning, the first segments were hoisted 104 stories—over 1,300 feet above the streets of Lower Manhattan—for installation. During AN’s site tour in September, the “roots” of the antenna were clearly visible, ready to accept the structure. Building this antenna is no small effort, either. Like the scale of everything at the World Trade site, the structure is gigantic, measuring in at 408-feet tall, higher than most skyscrapers in the rest of the country. Once finished, the antenna will bring the building’s overall height to 1,776 feet.
There remains some contention on how to describe the antenna structure—as simply an antenna or, more poetically, a spire—and despite what seems a semantic argument, the results could have tall repercussions. The Port Authority and the Durst Organization—both who use the term spire—opted to remove an architectural cladding designed by SOM and artist Kenneth Snelson from the antenna earlier this year, trimming millions from the building’s price tag. Without that sculptural finish, however, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the organization charged with ranking building heights, could opt to exclude the antenna from the overall building height, where an integrated spire would count. That would mean One World Trade won’t clock in as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, or even the tallest in New York City.
The SOM spire at left and the Durst/Port replacement at right. (Courtesy SOM/Durst)
The Durst Organization and the Port Authority have decided to abandon designs for what they once assured the public would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and architect David Childs of SOM is fighting back. By stripping away the sculptural finishes designed by SOM with artist Kenneth Snelson the developers and the Port may no longer qualify for the tallest title bestowed by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the body that tallies and ranks building heights.