|Render from Durst via the NY Times|
These renderings, via the New York Times from the Durst Organization, show the re-imagined spire (or antenna) of One World Trade Center. The former design was much more bulky and was an actual spire–the new design is simply an antenna mast, which would be used for communications.
The contrast is clear, as the old spire was much bulkier and larger, with the new antenna plainly mechanical. Besides the change in function, the official height of the building will also be different. The Council on Tall Buildings defines spires as architectural elements, a category antenna do not fall under. Thus, the design change also alters the building’s official height from 1,776 feet tall to only 1,368. The difference is trivial, but would make One World Trade’s reign as New York’s ‘official’ tallest very short, as 432 Park’s official height will be almost 1,400 feet.
Durst representative Jordan Barowitz said “We never have, never will, refer to it as an antenna,” but that doesn’t change the fact that the rendering on the right most definitely depicts an antenna rather than a spire. Semantics are everything when it comes to deciding the official heights of buildings. Durst is free to consider the antenna a spire, but anyone with eyes can see that it is plainly an antenna, and not an architectural addition to One World Trade.
Visit the New York Times Cityroom blog for the full rundown on Durst’s major alteration of One World Trade Center: World Trade Center’s Symbolic 1,776-Foot Height Is at Stake in a Redesign