In recent weeks and months, American skyscrapers have been much in the news. For the time being, the United States does not appear poised to retake the title for tallest skyscraper (a distinction that has belonged to cities in Malaysia, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates for more than a decade). With superlative height no longer the most viable way to generate excitement and visibility, we are seeing aesthetics move squarely into the arena of skyscraper competition. Just over a week ago, 1 World Trade Center topped the Empire State Building on its way to a symbolic 1,776-foot height (when the antenna is included), returning the distinction of tallest New York skyscraper downtown after an eleven-year absence. Not to be outdone, the Empire State Building’s owners, according…