One World Trade Center is third tallest building on the planet

The newly constructed One World Trade Center in New York has been officially declared tallest building in the western hemisphere – after a debate over whether the spire counts towards its overall height.

The skyscraper, designed by American firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), topped out earlier this year at a height of 541 meters, overtaking Chicago’s 442-metre Willis Tower as America’s tallest structure.

However is officially designated height was called into question after supporters of the former Sears Tower complained that the spire shouldn’t be included.

But The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has now verified the height and ruled that the building’s claim is correct, making it the third-tallest skyscraper in the world.

The decision was made by the 25 members of the council, following a presentation by David Childs and Ken Lewis of SOM that included a examination of design and construction drawings.

“We were very satisfied with the detailed information presented by the team, in particular, that which affirmed that the structure on top of the building is meant as a permanent architectural feature, not a piece of functional-technical equipment,” said CTBUH chairman Timothy Johnson.

One World Trade Center was deliberately designed with a height of 1776 feet to commemorate the year of America’s independence and it located in the north-west corner of the site where the former World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the 11 September attacks.

“The design of One World Trade Center, as explained to us, reinforces its role as a symbol of resurgence on this important site,” said CTBUH executive director Antony Wood. “In particular the spire, which holds the beacon light, shining out at the symbolic height of 1776 feet, is especially poignant – echoing the similarly symbolic beacon atop the Statue of Liberty across the water.”