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Heatherwick's 'incredible jigsaw puzzle' landmark rises at Hudson Yards

Credit: Joe Woolhead
The interactive, engaging, innovative and beautiful structure embodies our city’s energy, activity and movement, and we look forward to the day when all can experience and experiment with it
– Stephen M. Ross, Related Companies chair

Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s centerpiece for the public square and gardens at the Hudson Yards development in New York, is rising from the ground.

The first pieces of the sculptural urban landmark were placed together earlier this week on Manhattan’s West Side. The public will be able to follow construction progress from vantage points on the High Line and from Hudson Park and Boulevard over the upcoming months.

Vessel will be a honeycomb-like structure of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,400 steps and 80 landings. It will rise from a base that is 50ft (15m) in diameter and widen to 150ft (45.7m) at the top. In total, a mile's worth of pathway will rise above the public plaza below.

The structure will be formed of 75 specially fabricated pieces created by Italian engineering firm Cimolai S.p.A. The first 10 have arrived after travelling for 15 days at sea. After a brief stay at the Port of Newark, they were taken on a five-hour barge trip across the Hudson River to reach Hudson Yards. The remaining pieces will arrive and be assembled over the coming months.

“As one of the most complex and ambitious pieces of steelwork ever made, the next months will provide a one-off opportunity to see a future extraordinary structure emerge for New York,” said Heatherwick, the founder of project architects Heatherwick Studio.

“There are so many buildings and projects I wish I saw being made. So, for those who are interested, I hope it will turn out to have been worth heading up onto the High Line to catch a glimpse of the complex geometry being pieced together like an incredible jigsaw puzzle.”

Stephen M. Ross, chair of Hudson Yards developer Related Companies, added: “The interactive, engaging, innovative and beautiful structure embodies our city’s energy, activity and movement, and we look forward to the day when all can experience and experiment with it.”

Vessel is expected to top out by the end of this year. It will formally open to the public, along square and gardens, in the final quarter of 2018.

Heatherwick Studio have also collaborated on the design of the square and gardens, which are being created by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.

The area will feature more than five acres of public plazas, gardens and groves connecting to the High Line and the new Hudson Park & Boulevard. It will feature 28,000 plants, 200 mature trees, woodland plants, perennial gardens and a 200ft long fountain mirroring the flow of the river.

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 and 14 acres of public space.

Earlier this week restaurant group D&D London — owners of the German Gymnasium at King’s Cross – struck a deal to take over an 11,000sq ft space in the complex, which will become their first New York location.

Thomas Heatherwick  Heatherwick Studio  Related Companies  Hudson Yards  Manhattan  New York  architecture  design  Vessel 
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Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s centerpiece for the public square and gardens at the Hudson Yards development in New York, is rising from the ground. The first pieces of the sculptural urban landmark were placed together earlier this week on Manhattan’s West Side. The public will be able to follow construction progress from vantage points on the High Line and from Hudson Park and Boulevard over the upcoming months. Vessel will be
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The first pieces of the sculptural urban landmark were placed together earlier this week on Manhattan’s West Side / Joe Woolhead
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