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.
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.
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.
Thomas Heatherwick has been selected to receive the Tribeca Film Festival's (TFF) 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Part of the TFF's seventh annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA), the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Heatherwick for his "dedication to bringing design, architecture and urban planning together in a single workspace at his own Heatherwick Studio." He will be presented the award alongside Kenya Wildlife Service Chair and leading paleoanthropologist and conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey.
This past February, BIG and Heatherwick Studio unveiled their designs for Google’s new Mountain View Headquarters in California. The project, which will be built by robots, faced sizeable critique, as well as site complications—that have since been resolved—over the past year. Now, as a part of Esquire’s 2015 Breakouts, Bjarke Ingels—founder of BIG—is speaking out about how the firm won the Google bid, and why the headquarters could create a new mold for Silicon Valley urbanism. Ingels goes on to discuss other major BIG projects, like 2 World Trade Center, and an upcoming NFL stadium. Read the full Esquire interview, here.
Richard Serra and Thomas Heatherwick are among the seven honored at WSJ. Magazine's fifth annual Innovator Awards last night at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Serra, who earlier this year celebrated the completion of his second Qatari sculpture, was deemed 2015's "Art Innovator;" Heatherwick's "adaptive designs" landed him the title of "Design Innovator" of the year. Read on for a short interview with both winners.
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.
Following the conclusion of a new radio series featuring in-depth interviews with inspirational names in global politics, business and the arts, we've picked out and compiled four of our favourites for you to listen to. Thirty minutes each, Monocle 24's collection of Big Interviews have heard from the likes of London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick, architectural critic, writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades, plus developers and hoteliers Ian Schrager and André Balazs.
As reported in the Architects' Journal, Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge programme, which was approved last year – have ordered a review into the procurement process leading up to Heatherwick's selection to design a new bridge spanning the Thames. Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, will "review of the overall process of procurement of the design contracts, the findings of which [will be published] in full." This statement follows the revelation that Heatherwick Studio’s estimated total price (which was wrongly redacted in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the AJ last February) "was far higher than its two fellow bidders in the 2013 invited concept design competition." Full information about the request is detailed here.
In an exclusive hour-long interview with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Monocle's Andrew Tuck discusses building a business in the world of design and architecture, the process behind revamping the iconic red London bus, and the inspiration behind placing people – and plants – at the heart of the River Thames. Heatherwick leads London-based Heatherwick Studio, a multidisciplinary design practice who have recently completed a distillery in England and a learning hub in central Singapore, They are currently collaborating with BIG on the new Google Campus in San Francisco having been recently labelled as among the top ten most innovative architectural practices of 2015 by FastCompany.
Listen to the interview in full below:
Maggie's, the UK charity famed for its cancer care centers designed by world-renowned architects, has released a proposal for a new building designed by Heatherwick Studio. The new center is planned to be built on the grounds of the St James' University Hospital in Leeds, and was submitted for planning permission this morning.
The design consists of a series of stepped "planters" which aim to harness the therapeutic effect of plants for the benefit of the center's users. The building's public and private interior spaces are woven both in between these elements, and into the interior space of the planters themselves.
Thomas Heatherwick and PlanGrid co-founder Tracy Young have been ranked in Fast Company's top 100 Most Creative People in Business list for 2015. Topped by an ASU professor who is fighting ebola with tobacco, the list features some of the world's most powerful creatives, including Google VP Rajan Anandan, who's working to get everyone online, and 3D printing pioneer Jennifer Lewis of Materials Lead.
Coming in at number 24, Heatherwick is being lauded for "collapsing the walls within design," says FastCo. Working on projects of all scales, from the London Olympic cauldron to a proposed $130 million floating park in New York, Heatherwick's practice is often labeled as "multidisciplinary" - a misconception challenged by Heatherwick, who told the magazine his work falls under "one discipline: solving functional problems and trying to make a difference."
A casual observer might be forgiven for wondering how Thomas Heatherwick has developed such a reputation among architects. A scan of the works of Heatherwick Studio reveals relatively few completed buildings, and many of those that do make the list are small projects: kiosks, retail interiors, cafés. Indeed, to the average Londoner he is probably better known as the designer of the new homage to the iconic red Routemaster bus and as the creator of the wildly popular cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics - both unveiled in a year in which Heatherwick all but officially became the state-approved designer of 21st century Britain.
A look at the website of Heatherwick Studio sheds some light on this conundrum. With projects separated into “small,” “medium” and “large,” it is clear that a progression in scale is mirrored by a progression in time, with many of the smallest projects completed in the Studio’s early years, and most of those in the “large” category either recently completed or (more frequently) still on the drawing board. Their most recently completed project is also one of their largest, a “Learning Hub” for Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. How does a design studio that made its name in small projects adapt to such scale? ArchDaily spoke to Thomas Heatherwick about the Learning Hub and the increasing size of his projects to find out.
In their designs for Google's new headquarters, released last week amid much excitement, Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick have taken cues from the utopian visions of the past to create a radical solution for the sprawling tech campus in Mountain View, California. Citing the lack of identifiable architecture in the technology sector, a promotional video on Google’s own blog reveals how the company plans to embrace nature, community, and flexibility with the new scheme.
Chief among the company’s concerns was creating a building capable of adapting to future uses in addition to serving as a neighborhood-enhancing environment to welcome visitors from the surrounding community. As with any news related to Google, the design has already attracted the attention of the media - read on after the break for our rundown of the most salient reviews so far.
Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies.
"It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”
A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break.