Construction has officially begun on Vessel, the 15-story tall staircase sculpture designed by Heatherwick Studio that will serve as the centerpiece of New York’s massive new Hudson Yards development. To build the structure, 75 individual units are being prefabricated by Cimolai S.p.A. in their Monfalcone, Italy facility, then shipped to New York where they will be assembled on site. These first 10 of these pieces have now completed their 15-day overseas journey, with the remaining pieces scheduled to arrive on-site and put into place over the coming year.
A simultaneous celebration of their cultural iconicity and distillation from their various contexts, Beautified China is a photographic essay by Kris Provoost (one-half of the vlogging duo behind #donotsettle) that tracks the evolution of Chinese architectural landmarks over the course of the past 7 years. Beginning his investigation with the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, Provoost considers a decade of architecture proposed for China by the profession’s biggest names, many of which have been built now with monumental reputations in rising cities.
“Most ‘starchitects’ had their chance to build, or to fulfill their wildest dreams,” explains Provoost. “Some of them became landmarks: CCTV headquarters by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren or the Bird’s Nest/National Stadium by Herzog and de Meuron for example. Others have turned a suburb into a new center, or have established a new city on its own.”
This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "What do New Yorkers get when privately-funded public art goes big?"
When Thomas Heatherwick—the nimble London-based designer known for work that defies easy categorization—unveiled his design for a new public landmark called Vessel at Hudson Yards to a crowd of reporters and New York City power players in September, questions abounded. What is it? What will it do to the neighborhood? And what does it say that Stephen Ross, the president and CEO of Related Companies, the primary developer of Hudson Yards, is financing the entire $250 million piece by himself?
It’s natural that Ross chose Heatherwick Studio to design his centerpiece, because the office’s creations stun. For the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, it extruded 60,000 clear acrylic tubes from a center space to create a fuzzy, crystalline object whose apparent fragility is as mesmerizing as it is clever. As the studio moves toward ever-larger and ever-more-public commissions, the people who will live with its work will need to seriously consider what it will mean for their neighborhoods and cities.
Construction on Heatherwick Studio’s undulating Pier 55 in New York has come to a screeching halt, following a ruling by a United States District Court judge last week that will require the project to undergo an intense wildlife impact review.
Last April, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the project, located on the Hudson River in West Chelsea, the go-ahead, allowing initial construction to begin. But the district judge found that the Army Corps of Engineers had failed to properly consider the wide effects of the projects on the river wildlife.
New images of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s proposed Google campus in Mountain View California have been revealed in planning documents presented to the city last month. Initially announced in 2015, the project has seen several revisions after first running into difficulty with the city planning board, and then after swapping sites with fellow tech giant LinkedIn. The latest iteration, the 18.6-acre Charleston East campus, features a 2-story, 595,000-square-foot building topped with a flowing, tent-like canopy.
BIG and Heatherwick Studio have been selected as the architects for the new Google Headquarters at their King’s Cross campus in London. The ten story, 650,000 square foot building will be the first wholly owned and designed Google facility to built outside of the United States, and is part of a campus expansion plan that will eventually contain offices for 7,000 employees.
The latest chapter in the saga of London's Garden Bridge, which has seen counter proposals and reactionary follies alike, has revealed major concerns relating to its funding mechanisms. As reported by the Architects' Journal, new findings from the United Kingdom's National Audit Office (NAO), which has studied the decision taken by the Department for Transport's decision to grant £30 million ($37 million) of funding to the Garden Bridge Trust, has discovered that the "sum [£30 million] was provided following a commitment from [the] then Chancellor George Osborne, and despite the DfT’s conclusion that there was ‘a significant risk that the Bridge could represent poor value for money’."
UPDATE: We've added a video of Thomas Heatherwick explaining the design of "Vessel," after the break!
Thomas Heatherwick is bringing a new public monument to New York City. Today, Heatherwick Studio revealed the first renderings of “Vessel,” a 15-story tall occupiable sculpture comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs that will serve as the centerpiece of the new Hudson Yards development in west Manhattan.
The “Googleplex” is back on. After the Mountain View City Council announced last year that they would be awarding the majority of the land needed to construct the futurist masterplan designed for Google by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick to fellow tech giant LinkedIn, the future of the ambitious glass-canopied corporate campus seemed to be dead in the water, with the architects even releasing images of a pared down design that would occupy a much smaller footprint. But all of that has now changed thanks to a surprising property swap between the two companies that will see over three million square feet of real estate switch hands.
Pier 55, the floating park designed by Heatherwick Studio and landscape architecture firm, Signe Nielsen, received a green-light from the New York Supreme Court this past Friday, April 8, according to a report by the Architect’s Newspaper. Floating above the Hudson River on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, the park is anchored by an aggregation of enormous petal-like stilts that are submerged in the water below. The park is being funded by the philanthropy of Diane von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller.
Following the loss of part of their proposed site to LinkedIn and the subsequent reveal of an alternative site, Google has unveiled the revised plans for their Mountain View Campus. Designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio, the original proposal featured several “Lego-like” buildings covered by glass canopies. The new proposal uses similar design decisions, with the building massing adjusted to the new site.
This edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, is dedicated to plants and gardens and specifically their role in architecture, urban life, and the design of the workplace. The episode considers the history of London’s urban greenery and the role of plants in landscape architecture touching upon, in conversation with Sam Jacob, the latest in London's green infrastructure: Heatherwick Studio's proposed Garden Bridge across the River Thames. It also traces the lineage of semi-private squares in Georgian London to Ebenezer Howard's Garden City movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – all approaches discussing how best to unite the built environment with the natural world.
In his latest article for Vulture, art critic Jerry Saltz celebrates the latest crop of public art in New York City, such as Deborah Kass' OY/YO sculpture, sitting near the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, commenting on the success of such pieces even though (or perhaps because) many of them have been curated by art-world insiders rather than publicly accountable arts commissions or community engagement processes. But for Saltz, this new wave of high-quality public art has come at the expense of quality public space. Despite his admiration for the art installations, he expresses skepticism of the privately-funded public spaces that house them, such as the much-celebrated High Line, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and James Corner Field Operations, as well as future projects such as Pier 55 by Heatherwick Studio, and the "Culture Shed" at the Hudson Yards development also by DS+R. His critique even references a phrase from DS+R that belongs on our list of words only architects use. Read Saltz's full discussion of public art and public space here.
Heatherwick Studio has designed a mountainous mixed use plan for Shanghai's main arts district. Named M50, the 300,000-square-meter project was conceived as "a piece of topography" that takes the shape of "two tree-covered mountains" populated by "400 terraces" and "1000 structural columns."
“Normally, the large-scale projects that we are quite used to seeing have big boxes, and the role of the designer is figuring out what pattern of architectural wrapping paper to put on these boxes,” said Thomas Heatherwick, according to Architectural Digest. “We wondered if there was a way to make better working spaces by also making access to outdoors.”
Heatherwick Studio has received approval to realize a new shopping area at King's Cross in London. By 2018, the practice will transform the city's 1850 historic Coal Drops Yard buildings into an "eclectic mix" of 65 boutique and destination shops and restaurants.
"Over a two-year restoration and build process, Londoners will see the existing Victorian buildings – the East and West Coal Drops and Wharf Road Arches – refurbished and re-purposed in a way that creates a stunning new upper level and improves connectivity, whilst allowing the original forms and functions to be read," says the architects.
Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects have been chosen to collaborate on the "renovation and reimagination" of David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center’s largest concert hall in New York City. The team, chosen through a two-year competition and over 100 firms, will design a 21st-century concert hall for the New York Philharmonic home and transform it into a center capable of hosting "a broader, ongoing array of community activities and events."
"The inspiring combination of Heatherwick and Diamond Schmitt will bring contemporary design excellence, respect for the historic architecture of the hall, and extensive experience creating acoustically superb performance halls," said Katherine Farley, chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Thomas Heatherwick's controversial Garden Bridge in London has regained popular support amongst officials after a significant cut in funding. The Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge program, which was approved last year – has reduce the amount of taxpayer money from £30 to £10 million, alleviating concerns over public cost. Now, all that's needed for the project to start construction is an approved amendment to the site's lease in Lambeth. It is expected to break ground next year, despite lingering concerns over maintenance costs and use restrictions.
London is in the throes of an architectural identity crisis, compounded by a severe shortage of housing. While politicians and public figures debate various solutions to the city's design dilemmas, a London-based artist has conceived of a "satirical competition for architecture of the absurd." Known as A Folly for London, the free open-call for solutions to London's architectural conundrums was created in response to Arup and Heatherwick Studio's proposal for the yet to be built, and highly controversial, Garden Bridge.
Unlike traditional architectural competitions, A Folly for London sought to ignite debate on the current state of architecture in London. Presented with a distinctly British sense of humour, the competition received more than fifty entries. Winning proposals include the systematic burning of London's forests, construction of a massive inhabitable light bulb and the creation of a catacomb of submerged signature double-decker buses at the centre of the River Thames.
See the winners of "A Folly for London" after the break