Thomas Heatherwick’s “Vessel” Lights Up as Testing Begins, Hudson Yards

The Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick, photographed with the first set of lights turned on, photo by Michael Young

With a grand and unprecedented presence in the Midtown skyline, Hudson Yards continues to stop tourists and locals alike, as steel and concrete continue rising into the sky. Several days ago, just after dusk, one aspect of the complex caught a few people’s attention by surprise. The Vessel, created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, seems to have been illuminated for the first time since the 150-foot public sculpture topped-out last year.

Whether or not the entire lighting display has been turned on during the first testing, it beautifully presents soft blue and purple hues, gently shining the interior honeycomb structure of staircases against the backdrop of new office and residential skyscrapers that surround The Vessel and the five-acre landscaped plaza.

The $150 million structure will encompass a total of 2,500 steps, divided into 154 flights and 80 landing. There is also an elevator for ADA accessibility, situated on the southern interior face of the Vessel following the curved shape of the project, allowing everyone to reach the summit and capture perfect uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and the view looking down.

Related’s CEO Stephen Ross has previously said that he wanted to find someone who would be able to create a “12 month Christmas tree,” akin to the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree that brings millions of tourists and spectators during the holidays. Ross and Heatherwick aim to bring the same level of energy and spectacle to the northern end of the High Line and Hudson Yards.

Both The Vessel and the plaza are set to open next spring, along with The Shed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro, the Shoppes at Hudson Yards, 30 Hudson Yards and its observatory, 35 Hudson Yards and 55 Hudson Yards. This makes 2019 a very significant year for phase 1 of the site, while phase 2 has yet to see a final design and master plan.

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7 Comments on "Thomas Heatherwick’s “Vessel” Lights Up as Testing Begins, Hudson Yards"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: Impossible structure but possible right now. I have to take a bow on designer and builder.

  2. Hi Michael, I read somewhere [the New Yorker?] that the “perfect uninterrupted views of the Hudson River” will be severely curtailed if not blocked altogether by the structures planned for Phase 2.

    • David in Bushwick | July 16, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Reply

      A quick image search proves that The Vessel will be completely surrounded by high-rises and over a block from the Hudson. I look forward to climbing this and hope to find it actually be something special.

    • Michael Young | July 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Reply

      Hello Peter,

      Thanks for pointing that out. It would be nice if they didn’t block views looking down but we’ll have to wait and see for the final plans for Phase II. Have a nice day!

  3. $150 million would have paid for a lot of affordable housing but then the people with the money don’t want poor people nearby.

  4. I look forward to the Vessel. And to finally walk the High Line park.

  5. It would have been nice if at intervals there were ramps so folks in wheelchairs/walkers/scooters could also enjoy the “walk” along with their caregivers. It isn’t clear if the elevator stops at intervals or goes only to the top.

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