Last year, Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross promised New York Times reporter Charles Bagli that the firm would install an iconic sculpture at Hudson Yards that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Ross unveiled the design for the $150 million structure this morning, at an event hosted by Anderson Cooper next to the entrance to the year-old Hudson Yards 7 train station.
Created by London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick, the 15-story shell will be called “Vessel” and feature 154 interconnected, climbable staircases with 2,500 steps. The structure will also have an elevator for those who are unable to make the climb.
Artisans are currently fabricating pieces of the bronzed steel and concrete vessel in Monfalcone, Italy, but next year, workers will assemble the sculpture in the middle of the Hudson Yards’ five-acre “public square and gardens.” The park will open in 2018 and help connect 30th Street with the final, under construction phase of Hudson River Park at Pier 55 in Chelsea. It will also offer a green respite among the the glassy towers in Related’s massive, mixed-use development on the West Side of Manhattan, which is being constructed on top of an active rail yard used by the Long Island Railroad and Amtrak.
Heatherwick claims the design of the vessel was influenced by ancient Indian stepwells. But the Times—which got the first crack at the design with an exclusive this morning—compared the sculpture to a jungle gym and a honeycomb, in a piece with the revealing headline “A $150 Million Stairway to Nowhere on the Far West Side.”
Landscape architect Thomas Woltz, of Nelson Byrd Woltz, designed the public space at Hudson Yards. Press materials declare that the square will “feature groves of trees, woodlands plants, perennial gardens and a 200-foot-long fountain that will mirror the flow of a river.” There will also be a new entrance to the High Line at the southern edge of the square, at 10th Avenue and 30th Street.
Construction on the rest of Hudson Yards is also chugging along. Condos at the 88-story 15 Hudson Yards hit the market this week, starting at $1.85 million and going all the way up to $30 million, according to the Post’s Lois Weiss. The upper floors will hold 285 condos, and the lower stories will host 106 affordable rental units. Related recently finished work on the 52-story office tower at 10 Hudson Yards, 30 Hudson Yards is getting its glass facade next door, and the ground floor is going in for the 72-story, mixed-use 35 Hudson Yards.
Update: In response to comments about whether the sculpture will be handicapped accessible, we have updated this post to include the fact that there will be an elevator.
Subscribe to the YIMBY newsletter for weekly updates on New York’s top projects