British architect Thomas Heatherwick has unveiled a plan to a build a $151 million 16-storey ‘honeycomb-like’ giant stairway in New York ‘leading nowhere‘. Mr Heatherwick, designer of the London 2012 Olympic torch. said his creation will feature 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings and about 2,500 steps. It will be situated in Hudson Yards, which is presently undergoing a $200 million redevelopment. Tapering from 15 metres at its base to 45 metres at its summit – the public realm feature will provide 360˚ views of the surrounding city alongside new exercise routes for runners. Made of bronzed steel and concrete, the structure is slated to open in 2018.
Resembling a giant bronze ribcage — or a beehive, or a basket, depending on whom you ask — “Vessel” will weigh 600 tons and cost $150 million. It will be among the least utilitarian structures of its size in a space-starved city: its 2,500 steps don’t lead to any offices or condominiums or retail spaces. Instead, the sculptural “Vessel” will essentially function as a massive observation tower and jungle gym. While hiking the miles worth of stairs to the top, 16 stories up, visitors will get 360-degree views of the surrounding city and a free workout. A curving elevator will make the structure wheelchair accessible.
Hudson Yard, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center in 1939, already features one dramatic and towering public artwork, albeit below ground — Xenobia Bailey’s “Funktional Vibrations” in the 34th Street–Hudson Yards subway station. “Vessel” will rise up from the center of a five-acre public square and garden designed by landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz in collaboration with Thomas Heatherwick Studio. The green space will be filled with groves of trees, perennial gardens, woodland plants, and a 200-foot-long fountain.