1WTC ranked tallest building in the US as 4WTC opens


New York, NEW YORK—One World Trade Center was officially named the tallest building in the United States on Nov. 12. The following day, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Four World Trade Center opened. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat concluded that 1WTC’s needle counted as a spire, a “permanent” fixture that adds to a building’s “architectural expression,” CNN reported. Including the spire, 1WTC’s height surpasses the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 ft. According to The New York Times, the Willis Tower antennae do not qualify to be counted in the building’s overall height.

“If it looks like an antenna, acts like an antenna, then it is an antenna,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said. “At the Willis Tower, you have a panoramic view that is unmatched. You can’t get a view like that from an antenna.”

The Freedom Tower and the "Tree of Hope" planted in place of the sycamore that fell in the attacks. Photo by Cori O'Connor.

One Word Trade Center’s designers intended for the building’s height to be symbolic.  The roof reaches 1,368 feet, just like the original World Trade Center Tower One, reported CNN.  The spire extends to a total of 1,776 feet, a salute to the United States’ founding year.

According New York Daily News, the height of the completed One World Trade Center will be surpassed by only two other buildings in the world: the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Mecca, and Dubai’s Burj Kalifa.

As mentioned before, Four World Trade Center officially opened Nov. 13.  It is the first building on the World Trade Center site to do so since the 9/11 attacks, according to CBS New York.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the ribbon and proclaimed the opening “a major turning point,” WCBS 880 reported.

CBS New York reported that New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver marveled "that such elegance, beauty and quiet dignity rises from a place once decimated by unspeakable barbarism is as breathtaking as it is uplifting.”

According to The New York Times, the lobby wall is a “polished granite” that reflects an image of the 9/11 memorial outside.  Its windowed surface causes it to appear as if it blends with the sky, and its higher floors provide views of the harbor and the rest of the World Trade Center site.

King’s students generally approve the World Trade Center site’s progress.

Charlie Durham (’14) says he understands the symbolism of One World Trade Center’s height of 1,776 feet, but he still thinks it’s “kind of cheesy.”  He wonders what people would think if the designers decided to set the height at 2,001 feet, as a tribute to the year of 9/11.  Regardless, he calls 1WTC’s design “elegant.”

Christian Tegge (‘17) offered a more obviously patriotic response: “This is America; you blow up our buildings, we build them bigger and better.”  Tegge added that he wouldn’t mind if they were twice as tall as the originals.

One World Trade Center plans to open in 2014, according to NYDN.