Rising from the ashes of 9/11, the new World Trade Center tower has punched above the New York skyline to reach its powerfully symbolic height of 1,776 feet and become the tallest building in the country. Or has it? A committee of architects recognized as the arbiters on world building heights is deciding whether a design change affecting the skyscraper's 408-foot needle disqualifies it from being counted. Disqualification would deny the tower the title as the nation's tallest.
The ruling could also ruin the intended reference to America's founding year (1776) in the building's height; without the needle, the building measures 1,368 feet. What's more, the organization making the decision is based in Chicago, home of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower—the building One World Trade Center is hoping to surpass. "Most of the time, these decisions are not so controversial," says a spokesman for the nonprofit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The committee, made up of industry professionals from all over the world, will announce its decision next week. For the specifics on the dispute, click here. (Read more One World Trade Center stories.)