Vessel – the sculptural urban landmark Heatherwick Studio have designed as the centrepiece for New York’s Hudson Yards development – topped out yesterday (6 December) after eight months of construction.
The honeycomb-like structure, described by its creators as “one of the most complex pieces of steelwork ever made” has reached its full 150ft (46m) height, revealing how it will ultimately provide a one-mile vertical climbing experience.
New construction images reveal Vessel’s copper-clad steel frame rising and expanding from a base that is 50ft (15m) in diameter. When complete, it will be comprised of 154 intricately-interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings.
Heatherwick Studio founder Thomas Heatherwick said: “We're marking the exciting moment when the last of the enormous 75 pre-fabricated pieces which travelled all the way from Italy to Manhattan, has been assembled ahead of schedule and with astonishing geometric accuracy.
“Over the next few months, we’ll focus on installing the final details of the structure, as its paving, balustrades, lighting and cladding come together to complete this different kind of public space.”
Real estate firm Related Companies is a developer of Hudson Yards, and its chair, Stephen M Ross, described Vessel as “a new kind of vertical public space, a gathering place for Manhattan’s West Side and a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike”.
“Great public spaces bring people together and define neighbourhoods,” he added.
Vessel has been envisioned a “landmark-within-a-landmark” for the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards, which are being designed by Heatherwick Studio and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.
Due to open in early 2019, the area will feature more than five acres of plazas, gardens and groves – including 28,000 plants and 200 mature trees – connecting to the High Line and the new Hudson Park & Boulevard.
When complete, the chain will run from Gansevoort Street to Times Square, making it the largest network of public spaces developed in Manhattan since Central Park.
The wider Hudson Yards development is New York’s largest since the Rockefeller Center. Scheduled for completion in 2025, the mixed-use real estate development will consist of 16 skyscrapers and a 750,000 sq ft (70,000sq m) retail centre with more than 100 restaurants, cafes, markets, a cinema and bars.
There will also be new houses, schools, a 200-room Equinox luxury hotel,
14 acres of public space and a hugely flexible retractable cultural building called The Shed.