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Chicago’s Willis Tower – No Longer the Highest Roof in the Western Hemisphere

Clifford Shapiro

Clifford J. Shapiro

Construction Practice Group Chair

Well, it had to happen someday. Chicago’s Willis Tower hasn’t been the world’s tallest building since 1998 or on the world’s 10 tallest buildings list since 2016, but fans of the skyscraper had still been able to say it had the tallest roof height in the Western Hemisphere. Until now. As reported in Curbed Chicago on July 29, New York’s Central Park Tower overtook the 1,453-foot-tall Chicago icon as it builds toward a final roof height of 1,550 feet.

Chicago architecture enthusiasts may recall the emphasis on roof height when, in 2013, Willis was officially bumped to the second tallest building in the U.S. behind New York’s One World Trade Center under what some called “contentious circumstances.” One World Trade Center’s roof is at 1,368 feet, but its 1,776-foot-tall decorative spire allowed it to claim the top spot. Willis Tower’s famous twin antennas were reportedly not allowed to be counted, by Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rules, as part of its official building height.



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