The first pieces of a £115 million landmark installation, designed by Heatherwick Studio and featuring 154 intersecting flights of stairs, have arrived in New York
Dubbed The Vessel, the interactive 16-storey viewing platform will be the centrepiece of New York’s enormous £15 billion Hudson Yards regeneration, masterplanned by KPF.
The 45m-tall, beehive-like structure features a structural steel frame shipped in from Italy and finished in a polished copper colour.
The first 10 of the eventual 75 pieces, fabricated by Cimolai in its Monfalcone factory, arrived on site this week after a 15-day journey across the Atlantic, a brief stay at the Port of Newark and a five-hour barge trip across the Hudson River.
Expected to top out at the end of this year and to open in 2018, the structure will feature 154 flights of stairs and 80 landings. A curving elevator will also be included as an alternative to the 2,500 steps.
Source: Image by Forbes Massie and Heatherwick Studio
The Vessel will become the centrepiece of a 2ha public square and garden – including native trees and a 60m-long fountain designed by landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz.
Heatherwick’s design was inspired by Indian step wells. Engineering practice AKTII has also worked on the proposals.
Thomas Heatherwick, founder of London-based Heatherwick Studio, described the arrival of the structural elements on site as ‘a special moment’.
He said: ‘As [it is] one of the most complex and ambitious pieces of steelwork ever made, the next months will provide a one-off opportunity to see a future extraordinary structure emerge for New York.
‘There are so many buildings and projects I wish I saw being made. So, for those who are interested, I hope it will turn out to have been worth heading up onto the High Line to catch a glimpse of the complex geometry being pieced together like an incredible jigsaw puzzle.’
Stephen Ross, chairman of Hudson Yards developer Related Companies, added: ‘An extraordinary amount of work by artisans and craftsmen has gone into reaching this day and we are excited to invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to watch its rise over the upcoming months.
‘The interactive, engaging, innovative and beautiful structure embodies our city’s energy, activity and movement, and we look forward to the day when all can experience and experiment with it.’
The wider mixed-use Hudson Yards will deliver about 1,180,000m2 of development in 16 skyscrapers, including a new tower by Foster + Partners.
The project – thought to be the city’s largest since the Rockefeller Centre in 1939 – is being constructed above the 10.6ha West Side Yard, which sits at the north end of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s High Line park. The development is expected to finish in 2023.