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World Trade Center ‘spire’ clad in controversy | Is One W.T.C. slated to have bragging rights as the tallest structure in America, or is it going to be toppled over because of a technicality? That’s what the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international non-profit that arbitrates building heights, is musing over, according to the NY Times.
The original design featured a sculptural enclosure over the mast, which was to increase the 1,368-foot structure into a symbolic 1,776 feet, making it taller than the Willis Tower (what used to be known as the Sears Tower) and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, both located in Chicago, currently numbers one and two, respectively. It all depends on whether or not the Council (based in Chicago) counts the mast as a functional antenna or a non-functional spire. Without its cladding — a fiberglass and steel enclosure, dubbed a randome — the 400-foot pole is just a metal stick poking through the stratosphere.
The decision to unclad the cladding was made in October and confirmed in January by Douglas Durst, the chairman of the Durst Organization, who is developing the long-anticipated skyscraper with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Eliminating the cladding will chop nearly $20 million off the construction costs. But the real deal-breaker for the randome was its maintenance at a quarter-mile high.
As quoted in the Times, David M. Childs, the chief architect of One W.T.C., said “Eliminating this integral part of the building’s design and leaving an exposed antenna and equipment is unfortunate. 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.”
9/11 Memorial reaches new visitors milestone | As of May 14, the National Sept. 11 Memorial had hosted approximately 2.5 million visitors since its opening on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (245 days prior), according to Memorial President Joe Daniels.
Daniels also announced the Memorial’s extended spring hours (from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily) and the good news that, of the thousands of daily Memorial visitors, less than 10 percent of them have arrived as part of tour groups so far this year, amounting to an average of fewer than seven buses per day.
“The success of the Memorial is a clear indication that the public’s will to commemorate is as strong as ever,” said Daniels, “and that we remain steadfast in our collective promise to never forget the men, women and children who were taken from us too soon on 9/11.”