The commission involved designing a public centerpiece for Hudson Yards, a new 11-hectare development on Manhattan’s west side being constructed above a huge rail yard. To create something memorable, the studio decided to build a structure that visitors might be able to use and touch, not just to look at. A design was developed for a new social landmark that could be climbed and explored by everyone.
Influenced by the Indian stepwells of Rajasthan, formed from multitudes of stone staircases reaching down into the ground, the project plays with the mesmerizing visual effect of the repeating steps, flights, and landings. Composed of 2,500 steps, 154 flights, 80 landings, and 16 storeys, the resulting design is a climbing frame to lift people above the new square and reveal views across the Hudson River and Manhattan. Fabricated in Venice by specialist steel fabricator Cimolai, Vessel’s complex architectural framework of raw welded and painted steel contrasts with its polished copper-colored steel underside that reflects the surrounding city. Forming a major free public attraction at the heart of this new district, Vessel represents an intention to create an extraordinary new kind of public legacy for New York.
The Vessel, Nueva York (EE.UU) New York (USA).
Heatherwick Studio / T. Heatherwick (socio partner); S.Wood (director de equipo group leader); L. Dudeney (director de proyecto project leader); C. Bovis, E. Blixhavn, A. van Erp, F. Escudero, T. Farmer, S. Howson, J. In, N. Kocabas, P. Kotsovinou, B. Lavickova, A. Laing, E. Liverakou, P. Murphy, L. Plumbley, I. Ucros Polley, D. Portilla, J. Powers, M. Pratt, P. Romvári, V. Saarikoski, T. Tsurumaki (equipo team).
KPF Associates (arquitecto local architect of record); AKTII (ingeniería engineering); Thornton Tomasetti (estructura structure); Nelson Byrd Woltz (paisajismo landscaping); Cimolai (acero steel contractor); Cimolai Technologies (ascensor elevator); Permasteelia (fachada cladding); L’Observateur (iluminación lighting).
Michael Moran; Getty Images.