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Willis Tower loses claim to highest roof in the Western Hemisphere to NY skyscraper

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Manhattan’s Central Park Tower surpassed Willis’s 1,453-foot roof on its way to a 1,550-foot final height

A street-level view of a tall, black skyscraper with offset setbacks that tapers under a blue and cloudy sky.
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the 108-story Willis Tower was designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 1973.
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Though Chicago’s Willis Tower hasn’t held the honor of the world’s tallest building since 1998 and dropped off the world’s ten tallest list in 2016, the famous 1973 skyscraper still held onto the claim of tallest roof height in the Western Hemisphere. At least until now.

On Monday, New York’s Central Park Tower overtook the 1,453-foot-tall Chicago icon on its way to an eventual final roof height of 1,550 feet, reported New York YIMBY. Rising along New York’s “Billionaires’ Row,” CPT will offer 179 uber-expensive condos with Central Park views atop a 320,000-square-foot flagship Nordstrom store which will open in October.

Roof height took on special importance among Chicago skyscraper fans in 2013 when Wills officially lost its status as the tallest building in the U.S. to New York’s One World Trade Center under somewhat contentious circumstances.

Despite the East Coast skyscraper’s considerably lower 1,368-foot roof, it managed to dethrone the Chicago tower by using a decorative spire to reach a symbolic 1,776 feet. The twin antennas of Willis, however, do not count toward official building height, per Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rules.

Though some Chicago architecture fans might rue Willis Tower losing the title of the highest roof in the country, they can perhaps take some solace in the fact that the design of Central Park Tower is a Chicago export, penned by hometown firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

AS + GG is a supertall specialist and is responsible for number of the world’s most ambitious, high-reaching projects including Saudi Arabia’s mind-bending kilometer (3,280 feet) tall Jeddah Tower. Closer to home, the architecture firm designed a 1,422-foot-tall mixed-use skyscraper for the vacant lot east of Tribune Tower.

An aerial rendering of Manhattan island showing a large rectangular park surrounded by buildings as well as the Hudson and East rivers. At its center, a glassy skyscraper towers above the other buildings.
A rendering of Central Park Tower soaring over Midtown Manhattan and its namesake greenspace.
Wordsearch via Curbed New York

Willis Tower

233 South Wacker Drive, , IL 60606 Visit Website