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.
Inspired by the mesmerizing geometries of Indian stepwells, Vessel’s lattice calls to mind a beehive or jungle gym – and will indeed offer a workout to visitors game enough to climb the almost 2,500 individual steps within the structure, nearly a mile’s worth of vertical pathways.
The object’s form takes on a conical shape, widening from 50 feet at the base to 150 feet at the top. And if the geometries alone weren’t eye catching enough, the steel structural frame has been clad in a polished copper-colored steel skin, which will provide warped reflections of the plaza below.
“We had to think of what could act as the role of a landmarker,” said Thomas Heatherwick. “Something that could help give character and particularity to the space.”
The structure will be located in the central plaza of Hudson Yards, where it will be surrounded by native perennial gardens and a canopy of native trees, as well as a variety of seating options where visitors to the nearby Culture Shed or High Line can rest their feet.
The plaza platform itself constitutes quite the technical innovation, as it acts as a ventilating cover for the rail yards while also serving as a reservoir for site drainage and storm-water management.
The cost of “Vessel” is estimated at $150 million, double the original budget of $75 million.
Read more about the unveiling, here.