The spire of the newly built Freedom Tower is being tested today. At 1,776 feet, if accepted, would not only represent the tallest building in the US but would be an important symbol of the recovery of the country. Although a very beautiful building, it is only one. In the third most populous and first richest country by GDP it is startling to me that we’ve seemed to have lost our drive to be the one offering the best and most bold ideas in architecture. Looking at the new skyscrapers springing up in the last few years, the Freedom Tower is one of only four in the last two years to be opened that were classified as skyscrapers. And the Freedom Tower as well as Four World Trade Center were replacements from the 9/11 attacks on New York. And in the top 25 list according to height, the US only has 4, one of them being the Empire State Building built in 1931. Much of the construction is in emerging economies and certainly is driven by the high demand for office space. China is a spectacular example where one sees hundreds of cranes throughout its tier one cities erecting spectacular buildings. A couple of years ago, I took the elevator to the observation deck at Shanghai’s World Financial Center. At an impressive 1,614 feet, one could look down at other impressive skyscrapers. This year, the Shanghai Tower is going up which will dwarf it at 2,073 feet. And the tallest building at 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa is in Dubai. Now I understand that the demand for office space in the mature markets isn’t as booming. However, there still is construction under way in US cities, just at a more modest scale. There certainly is competition in the world in terms of architectural boldness. We just don’t seem to want to compete in this arena. It certainly isn’t for lack of talented engineers and architects as we can still pull off feats such as the Freedom Tower. While someone out there will certainly find some analytical conclusion as to why it isn’t feasible in the US economy, I think it is more than an economic reality. I fear that collectively we are losing our spirit to dream big. But that certainly isn’t a trajectory that we need to follow as we know that there are individuals and groups out there that thrive on risk taking. We still have companies and individuals leading the way in the form of Tesla, SpaceX, Apple, Google and others. I’d like to see this same spirit follow through to grand architectural feats.