Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

WTC tower tall-building claim iffy

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CHICAGO -- 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 541 metres and become the tallest building in the U.S. Or has it?

A committee of architects recognized as the arbiters on world building heights was meeting Friday to decide whether a design change affecting the skyscraper's 124-metre needle disqualifies it from being counted.

Disqualification would deny the tower the title as the nation's tallest.

The building stands as a monument to those killed in the terrorist attacks.

Without the needle, the building measures 417 metres, a number that holds symbolic weight as the height of the original World Trade Center.

And, the decision is being made by an organization based in Chicago, whose history is embodied by the Willis -- formerly Sears -- Tower that would be knocked into second place by a vote in favour of the New York structure.

"Most of the time these decisions are not so controversial," said Daniel Safarik, an architect for the non-profit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The committee of industry professionals from all over the world will announce its decision next week.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2013 A18

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