The Port Authority issued new renderings last Wednesday with some significant changes. Kenneth Snelson's spire has been discarded entirely. Instead, there will be just a basic broadcast mast. The architects are furious, and there is now some doubt whether the building would qualify to be the tallest in the USA. Some authorities in the whole highest building contest do not count antennae as part of the building's height. With the mast, the building's height remains 1,776 feet. Without it, that height is considerably reduced. The official explanation of the decision was something that had to do with construction safety. No one apparently believes it, and the changes are mostly seen as cost-cutting. The Willits/Sears Tower in Chicago may well be safe.
There are changes as well to the design of the base, but they do nothing to soften its brutality, only simplify its shape. The tapered corners are now eliminated.
In these new renderings, Buildings 2 and 3 are conspicuously absent. They are currently under construction, but will rise no higher than their bases until enough tenants sign leases to make their construction worthwhile.
The World Trade Center has evolved from a golden opportunity to build a great one for the ages to history's largest monument to actuarial calculation.