Architecture

Heatherwick Studio's ambitious 'stairway to nowhere' is complete

Heatherwick Studio's ambitious...
The Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel has a reported price tag of US$150 million
The Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel has a reported price tag of US$150 million
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Vessel rises to a height of 150 ft (45 m)
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Vessel rises to a height of 150 ft (45 m)
Vessel features 54 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings
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Vessel features 54 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings
Vessel offers views of the Hudson River
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Vessel offers views of the Hudson River
Vessel's construction was a painstaking process that involved its steel structure being fabricated by specialists in Italy before being shipped across the ocean and moved up the Hudson River by barge
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Vessel's construction was a painstaking process that involved its steel structure being fabricated by specialists in Italy before being shipped across the ocean and moved up the Hudson River by barge
Vessel's 75 sections were put into position by crane
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Vessel's 75 sections were put into position by crane
The Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel has a reported price tag of US$150 million
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The Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel has a reported price tag of US$150 million

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 offers views of the Hudson River
Vessel offers views of the Hudson River

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.

Sources: Heatherwick Studio, Hudson Yards

3 comments
paul314
$200M? And you have to reserve a ticket. And absolutely not drop anything...
toyhouse
I used to have a recurring nightmare about a giant stairway that went straight up to nowhere - with no railings. I'm sure there's message somewhere. This one looks rather nice in comparison.
Rustin Lee Haase
It looks like it would be fun to explore, doubly so since it appears that tax money wasn't used to build this thing. If money had to be taxed from the citizens to build a stairway to nowhere this would be an obamanation, but if not then it could be every bit as cool as a rollercoaster which is actually a train to no-where but people are fond of those. :-)