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One World Trade Center vs. Willis Tower: Which Skyscraper Is Taller?

Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Which is the tallest building in the United States: the new World Trade Center tower in New York, or the Willis Tower in Chicago?  After some debate, a committee of architects has finally issued its ruling.

"America's tallest building, when it completes next year, will be One World Trade Center," Antony Wood, the executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, announced Tuesday morning.

The debate had to do with One World Trade Center's spire. With it, the skyscraper stands at a symbolic 1,776 feet tall.  But if you take the spire away, the new tower's height drops to 1,368 feet, making it 82 feet shorter than the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.

"Antennae do not count in the height of a tall building, because they are functional technical equipment which is put on top.  The committee were quite clear that that was not the case on One World Trade Center.  This is a permanent feature," Wood said, referring to the spire.

He added, "We know that it's a permanent feature because of the sacrosanct aspect of the 1,776 height.  In other words, that crowning structure is never to be added to, never to be taken away."

After 39 years of holding the top spot, the Willis Tower now drops to second place.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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