Fudging the numbers for the world’s tallest buildings

Will the Willis Tower be unseated as the nation's tallest building?

It's become common practice in football, basketball and a variety of other sports where size is at a premium. High school and college programs fudge the height and weight numbers for some of their athletes in order to get them extra looks and opportunities to play at the next level. Other times, the adjusted size is for intimidation, or to help cover up a potential weakness.

But fibbing about height isn't just in the world of sports anymore. Architects are now fabricating the size of the world's tallest buildings, according to a report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat cited by Quartz, a global business news site. Quartz said that some of the world's tallest buildings "are doing the architectural equivalent of wearing platform shoes."

The council's report explains that more than 60 percent of the world's super-tall buildings, which are over 300 meters in height, are stating half-truths in their statistics.

China's 390-meter tall CITIC Plaza, which is in the city of Guangzhou, would lose 84 meters from its height if its vanity height was discounted. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat calls vanity height the distance from the highest floor occupied to the topmost part of the building.

New York or Chicago, which city will have tallest building?
One World Trade Center, the New York skyscraper which is rising on the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, appeared poised to unseat Chicago's Willis Tower as the tallest building in the nation. The Trade Center will have a height of 1,776 feet, topping Willis Tower by 45 feet.

But according to the Tribune, the "Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat will consider in November whether to knock more than 400 feet off One World Trade Center's official height, owing to a technical distinction between spires and antennas."

The 1,776 feet was schemed by ground zero planner and architect, Daniel Libeskind, in reference to the year Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

"I think the common perception and the common wisdom … is that it's 1,776," Nina Libeskind, the architect's wife, told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't know how one suddenly dictates that it isn't because they don't consider antennas to be part of the building. I would say it's the wrong call."

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