The "arbiters of world building heights" are meeting this weekend to decide if the almost-completed One World Trade Center will take the crown from Chicago's Willis Tower as the tallest building in the western hemisphere.posted by Joe
"Most of the time these decisions are not so controversial," said Daniel Safarik, an architect and spokesman for the nonprofit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The 30 members of its Height Committee are meeting to render a judgment behind closed doors in Chicago, where the world's first skyscraper appeared in 1884. The committee, comprising industry professionals from all over the world, will announce its decision next week. The question over 1 World Trade Center, which remains under construction and is expected to open next year, arose because of a change to the design of its tower-topping needle. Under the council's current criteria, spires that are an integral part of a building's aesthetic design count; broadcast antennas that can be added and removed do not. The designers of 1 World Trade Center had intended to enclose the mast's communications gear in decorative cladding made of fiberglass and steel. But the developer removed that exterior shell from the design, saying it would be impossible to properly maintain or repair. Without it, the question is whether the mast is now primarily just a broadcast antenna.Embiggen the above graphic for some comparisons.