Anticipation was running as high as the tower itself as construction crews were standing by to raise the final two sections of the spire to the top of One World Trade Center today, a move that would have officially made the tower the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet, but high winds brought on delays. The final two sections of the 408-foot-tall spire, capped by a shining, pointed beacon, were scheduled to rise this afternoon, but the Port Authority decided to wait for for clearer skies to top-off the tower.
The 800-ton spire, once completed, will serve as a television broadcast antenna, while the crystalline beacon, packed with 264 LEDs for a blistering 316,800 lumens, will shine into the sky each night, from sunset to sunrise once everything is up and running. Created by J.R. Clancy, Ballantyne Strong, and TDK Engineering, the beacon will also contain a rotating mirror to reflect different colored lights for the holidays, as we have all come to expect of New York’s tallest buildings.
The spire has stirred up controversy in the past, as budget cuts that removed an artistic cladding from its design may have downgraded the appendage to an antenna, as opposed to the more lyrical “spire.” In the eyes of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the organization that ranks the world’s tallest buildings, this slight change could round down the height of One World Trade to 1,368 feet, leaving Chicago’s Willis Tower secure in its position as Tallest in the West. Even if One World Trade doesn’t make the grade, the views from the top will still be one of a kind.