The gigantic spire lifted atop One World Trade Center last week was officially installed this morning, bringing the symbolic building to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet and making it the tallest building is the U.S. and third tallest in the world. Or does it?
Practically, the AP reports, "The 408-foot spire, weighing 758 tons, will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna. An LED-powered light emanating from it will be seen from miles away and a beacon will be at the top to ward off aircraft."
But whether it counts toward the tower's final, patriotic height is an open-ish question, albeit one that doesn't really warrant fighting about, given what the building means to people, unless you're some kind of architecture obsessive. Basically, last year, the building's designers had their plan for the spire altered, which risked running afoul of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's rules for what is an architectural spire (which counts) and what is just an antenna.
One WTC is 1,368 feet to the roof, shorter than Chicago's 1,451-foot Willis Tower. (Buildings this massive also tend to fluctuate, so these numbers are inexact to begin with.)
But that's nitpicking. The building opens next year.