Inspired by the mesmerising 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 2500 individual steps within the structure, nearly a mile’s worth of vertical pathways.
The object’s form takes on a conical shape, widening from 15m (50ft) at the base to 46m (150ft) 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.