One World Trade Center (1WTC) in New York, originally known as the Freedom Tower, has become “The Top of America,” as this week’s issue of Time magazine puts it. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the organization that determines how a building’s height is measured, 1WTC’s height to architectural top is 1,776 feet. This includes the 408-foot-tall spire that rises above the main structure of the building. In announcing the CTBUH decision to include the spire in its measurement, the organization’s executive director noted the symbolic importance of the spire reaching to 1,776 feet and the Height Committee’s confidence that the spire will remain a permanent architectural feature of the building.

So, the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago has lost its title as the tallest building in North America (it was the World’s Tallest Building from its completion in 1974 to 1996, when it lost that title to the Petronas Towers). The main roof level at the top of the building structure is actually higher at the Willis Tower in Chicago than at 1WTC: 1,451 feet at the Willis Tower vs. 1,368 feet to the steel parapet at 1WTC. But since the late 1990s the CTBUH has evaluated buildings according to several measurements, with height to architectural top determining the official building height. Initially there were four measurement categories; these have been reduced to three, eliminating the height to roof measurement.

The current three categories of measurement are:

  1. Height to architectural top. Permanent spires are included in this measurement. 1WTC’s height to architectural top is 1,776 feet; the Willis Tower’s height to architectural top is 1,451 feet.
  2. Height to highest occupied floor. 1WTC’s highest occupied floor is at 1,268 feet; the Willis Tower’s highest occupied floor is at 1,354 feet.
  3. Height to tip. This measurement includes antennas. 1WTC’s height to tip is 1,792 feet; the Willis Tower’s height to tip measures 1,729 feet.

March 8, 2014

A number of people have asked about my father’s efforts to help his homeland during the liberation war of 1971. This is indeed an important part of his life so I have added a page – titled 1971: Bangladesh Liberation War – to my website The text is based on the section “Crisis in Bangladesh” in Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan.

My thanks to everyone who asked about my father’s efforts.

FRK Collection

May 10, 2013

The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago started a Fazlur R. Khan Collection in 1992 when my mother donated some of my father’s papers and slides. There were still other files of his at home, and I looked through these as carefully as I could when I was working on Engineering Architecture. Now that the book is completed, I have decided to donate the rest of his papers so they can all be in one place. I will eventually also donate most of his slides (I want to sort through them and keep personal photos). The Collection does include some personal items, such as my father’s passport from the 1970s, to which a remarkable number of extension pages were added because of his extensive travel, a matted photo of a project given to him by Bruce Graham and signed “Another fine collaboration,” and the transcript of an oral history recording made by him in 1978.

“To Faz, Another fine collaboration,” Bruce” (this image is included in Engineering Architecture on page 255)

I have added the full text from Engineering News-Record‘s 1972 article about my father “Construction’s Man of the Year: Fazlur R. Khan” to my website dedicated to him (here is a link).

Cover of Engineering News-Record, February 10. 1972, Construction's Man of the Year issue

Cover of Engineering News-Record, February 10. 1972, Construction’s Man of the Year issue

It was during an interview for this article that he discussed his perspective on the role of engineering, saying “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology. He must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music and, most importantly, people.”

Memorial plaque for Fazlur R. Khan

This memorial plaque for the lobby of Onterie Center in Chicago features my father’s statement from the ENR interview

Chicago visit

April 12, 2012

I was in Chicago for my father’s birthday, April 3, and was happy to see that the work at the cemetery has turned out nicely. The groundcover around my parents’ gravestone was very pretty in bloom (a bit more may still be planted on the sides) and the two stones, my parents’ and Bruce Graham’s memorial stone, look perfect together – like partners, each with their own personality.

This felt like a special year. March 27 was the 30th anniversary of my father’s passing.

Bruce Graham's memorial stone and Fazlur & Liselotte Khan's gravestone

Bruce Graham's memorial stone was placed next to my parents' gravestone at Graceland Cemetery in such a way that the two stones relate to each other

Fazlur R. Khan gravesite

My parents' gravestone at Graceland Cemetery, April 2012

Here are a few photos from the exhibition about my father, “Fazlur Khan: Structural Artist of Urban Building Forms.”

Fazlur Khan exhibition at Princeton UniversityExhibition Opening at the Engineering Library

Fazlur Khan exhibition at Princeton

Fazlur Khan with daughter Yasmin, c. 1977The structures class at Princeton has put together an impressive web site to accompany the exhibit on my father and his work. This link is to the section I contributed, which will take you to the web site.