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Vessel, Heatherwick Studio

Stepwell and maze-like stairways in Manhattan: 'Vessel' by Heatherwick Studio

A new type of public landmark:  'Vessel', a 16-storey climbing garden with 80 landings and 154 interconnected stair flights that offer views of Hudson River and Manhattan, seems to fulfil this ambition. As part of one of the largest real estate projects in American history, the structure by Heatherwick Studio presents itself as the centrepiece of the Hudson Yards development.

The greatest challenge was to create a memorable single structure that would stand its own in the midst of all skyscrapers, yet not in the form of a static construct but as a place of encounter. The architects took historical and typological inspiration from the Spanish Steps in Rome and India's stepwells, characterised by a complicated network of flights of stone stairs.

Emulating the geometric pattern of steps descending stepwells required a self-supporting structure. This was achieved by inserting steel elements between each pair of staircases, thus creating a natural division between 'above' and 'below'. The upper sides of 'Vessel' come in exposed raw welded steel, while the underside surfaces are clad in metal with a deep copper tone.

Further information: 

Designed by Heatherwick
Studio Design Director: Thomas Heatherwick
Group Leader: Stuart Wood
Project Leader: Laurence Dudeney
Project team: Charlotte Bovis, Einar Blixhavn, Antoine van Erp, Felipe Escudero, Thomas Farmer, Steven Howson, Jessica In, Nilufer Kocabas, Panagiota Kotsovinou, Barbara Lavickova, Alexander Laing, Elli Liverakou, Pippa Murphy, Luke Plumbley, Ivan Ucros Polley, Daniel Portilla, Jeff Powers, Matthew Pratt, Peter Romvári, Ville Saarikoski, Takashi Tsurumaki

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