Skyscrapers Battle To Be Named 'Tallest'

It's a battle for the ages as New York City and Chicago square off to determine which city will be the home of America's tallest building. The fight all comes down to a single metal spire on One World Trade Center in New York, which would add a significant amount of height to the building and allow it to officially surpass Chicago's reigning champ.

In the Windy City's corner is the Willis Tower, although you probably know it by its former name, the Sears Tower. The icon of engineering is familiar to anyone who has seen a movie set in Chicago, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Transformers 3. The 108-story building stands 1,451 feet tall and was the country's tallest skyscraper for 39 years until the Freedom Tower staked its claim.

The tower in New York, whose official name is One World Trade Center, is the centerpiece of the new World Trade Center complex, and its outer trappings were completed in May. Although the 104-story building stands a measly 1,368 feet tall, it has a little something extra going for it: a 408-foot spire stuck on top, bringing its height to a symbolic 1,776 feet — or 325 feet taller than the Willis Tower.

Which tower will emerge victorious? That's up to the aptly named Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which is set to vote on the matter today. The executive director of the council says that although he hopes the meeting won't inspire full-out protests, he does expect "a very, very lively debate."

But wait: the tall-buildings authority is located in Chicago, which is also where the vote is taking place. We don't want to point any fingers, but doesn't that seem a little, well, biased? A Chicago architect gave her relatively impartial thoughts on the matter, saying that "Willis Tower still is tallest in terms of how high you can stand above the earth, but when you look at sort of what's totally built from the ground up, then One World Trade Center wins."

We're keeping an eye on you, Chicago architects.