The new tower at Ground Zero might be the tallest in New York City, but due to a recent decision to eliminate the cladding from the antenna, its future as the tallest in the United States is in doubt. The top of the building was recently redesigned in order to shave several million off of the final price tag and make the structure easier to maintain.
The changes have riled many skyscraper enthusiasts who find the new design far from aesthetically-pleasing. While I initially agreed with the negative remarks, I was also never very enthused about the design of the original spire. Downgrading it to a simple antenna makes the building more reminiscent of the North World Trade Center tower that was lost on 9/11. I will reserve judgment on the building’s appearance until it is completed.
The main downside to the redesign is the building may not be able to include the antenna in its overall height. The skyscraper was originally intended to have a spire topping out at a symbolic 1776 feet, but while the height of spires are included because they are considered a permanent part of a structure, antennas are not.
UPDATE: In a press release dated November 12, 2013, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced they would include the unclad spire in the final architectural height of 1WTC, thereby officially making it the tallest building in the United States.