Heatherwick Studio's Vessel is finally complete and has now opened to the public in Manhattan, New York City. Rising to a height of 150 ft (45 m), the copper-colored steel structure comprises 54 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings, offering views of the city and the Hudson River.

Vessel, which is only its temporary name (though we wouldn't be surprised if it sticks), cost US$150 million according to the Guardian, and is part of a large new neighborhood development called Hudson Yards, which is the largest private development project to date in the US and has a budget of $20 billion.

Construction has taken almost two years and was a painstaking process that involved the steel structure being fabricated by specialists in Italy, then shipped across the ocean in sections. It was then transferred to the site by barge and put into position by crane.

Vessel's unusual design isn't inspired by M.C. Escher as one might assume, but by an experience that designer Thomas Heatherwick had when he was a young student and noticed a discarded flight of stairs on a building site.

"It caught my imagination and I loved that is was part furniture and part infrastructure," says Heatherwick. "You could climb up stairs, jump on them, dance on them, get tired on them and then plonk yourself down on them. Years later, suddenly here was an opportunity to make a new kind of landmark for Hudson Yards."

If you'd like to walk up Vessel's steps in person (elevators and ramps are also installed for the disabled), it's free to use, however you'll need to book a place online using the Hudson Yards website.

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