WTC Symbolic 1,776-Foot Height in Jeopardy

Redesign that eliminates enclosure surrounding mast atop building puts height assessment in question

The symbolic 1,776-foot height planned for the new World Trade Center is in jeopardy because an architectural redesign eliminates a fiberglass enclosure around the mast atop the tower, reports The New York Times.

The original mast enclosure was to be a 23-foot wide fiberglass and steel structure featuring interlocking triangles designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a private group that acts as the global judge of building heights, had initially been inclined to count the mast toward the total height, which would elevate the skyscraper to 1,776 feet.

The panel would be less likely to consider the mast without the sculptural enclosure because it would appear to be just a regular antenna, reports the Times.

Without the mast, 1 World Trade Center would only be 1,368-feet tall.

Eliminating the enclosure would save the project about $20 million. The decision to alter the design was made in October and finalized in January but gained attention last week as the WTC reclaimed its spot as the tallest skyscraper in the city.

David Childs, the lead architect of 1 World Trade Center, blasted the change.

"Eliminating this integral part of the building's design and leaving an exposed antenna and equipment is unfortunate," Childs told the Times. "We stand ready to work with the port on an alternate design that will still mark the 1 World Trade Center's place in New York City's skyline."

The panel that will determine the building's recorded height plans to wait to make a final decision until its completion in 2014. The Times reported the Port Authority appeared optimistic the 1,776-foot height would prevail.

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