Thomas Heatherwick’s Public Sculpture Set to Open in March 2019 at Hudson Yards

Thomas Heatherwick's sculpture is set to open in less than two months. Photo by Michael Young

UPDATE: According to a Related spokesperson, “Vessel” is still awaiting its final moniker.

Standing in the middle of the future five-acre landscaped public plaza at Hudson Yards is Thomas Heatherwick’s upcoming 150-foot tall public sculpture. This is the centerpiece of Related Companies Hudson Yards Phase I master plan and stands 16 stories high.

The structure was fabricated in Italy, and then shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 75 pieces. Starting in late 2016, each section was lifted and welded in place like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. As a whole, the entire assemblage consists of nearly 2,500 individual steps and 154 flights, shaped like a beehive. Large hexagonal-shaped voids create open spaces between the runs and 80 landings, and account for its unique appearance.

Thomas Heatherwick’s sculpture at night. Photo by Michael Young

Work on the plaza is ongoing, and almost at completion. Tall trees surrounding the architectural piece were planted last year, while finishing touches on the steps, pavers, and bollards are ongoing. At night, the structure can be seen partially illuminated by the multitude of yellow and purple lights that shine off its reflective polished-copper cladding. The ADA-accessible elevator on the back of the southern rim will also be part of the sculpture. Painted in black, the framing of the exposed elevator shaft is disguised within the dark-colored interior of the structure.

Starting from the 50-foot wide bottom, four flights of stairs surround the center of the sculpture, along with the elevator bank. As one begins to ascend, they are climbing further away from the center point. By the time visitors reach the top, the diameter widens to 150 feet, with open-air views looking down the structure, as well as the skyscrapers of Hudson Yards above, and the Hudson River to the west. It is reported that the sculpture can handle up to 1,000 people at a time.

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25 Comments on "Thomas Heatherwick’s Public Sculpture Set to Open in March 2019 at Hudson Yards"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: You pulled me into an amazing structure as I saw it standing on the ground. Let’s get inside that people can’t do it right now, you explain everything and I had big surprise you said on report. (Thanks to Michael Young)

  2. So, to climb stairs you have to pay and buy ticket. It’s Greedy, why not making this as a free landmark, like a High Line elevated greenway????

  3. You know the world has gone berserk when you can spend $200 million on a 150’ high staircase to nowhere.

  4. It’s free, they are just anticipating crowds when it opens so timed tickets to make sure structure doesn’t get overloaded.

  5. What would Escher’s staircase look like with that money?

  6. Suicide Magnet

  7. Why are these replies so cheery?

  8. I was walking passed it last year and it reminded me of the creepy library in THE NAME OF THE ROSE. Maybe it will burn down too.

  9. Pardon me for using your space

  10. Why? Looks like a Star Trek cgi set. I’ll pass

  11. How many flights of stairs?

    If they’re looking for a name I would suggest that number, as in “____ Flights”… or just “Flight”… or maybe “The Human Beehive”

  12. What’s not to like? It’ll be a good view and a healthy workout.

  13. The Vessel or “Staircase” as looks like they renamed it, is not bad. The only difference from making it just as a Public Art, unlike Eifel Tower in Paris, is missing a crown, but it’s you visitors who became it. The tallest of you will be pinnacle for this Structure and in this means a “Staircase” is proper name!!! This not just “a stairs to nowhere”, same may be applied to High Line 1,5 mile long Greenway to New Whitney’s Museum or even Statue Of Liberty!!! By the way High Line have a Spur “to the Nowhere” next to 10 Hudson Yards tower.
    “The Vessel” or “Staircase” main idea of combine interesting piece of public art to observation platform on the Air, widest portion is on the top, turned to be a New Public Landmark and will be free to visit as High Line. Newest City’ Observation platform, shows visitors a Hudson Yards from inside, they are located 155 feet of the ground will see up to another glass and granite mountains of taller surrounding observation Platform of “Staircase” over 1000 feet up it’s pinnacle, and don’t forget that this not only observation platform in Hudson Yards, the tallest one is hanging from facade of it’s tallest tower, 30 HY, about 1100 feet over the ground or 11th Avenue!!! Hudson Yards is not only office anx residentional tall skyctapers on West Side, it’s a brand new neighborhood, and Phase I of HY is included also a new Hudson Boulevard and Park, and brand new Train Station for 7 line Subway, where innovation included inclined elevators, unfortunately they forget to put some colored tiles on it’s case, leaving it bare concrete. But idea is new for NY. Also Hudson Yards include a Innovative Arts and Performance Complex with movable space reserve, overall HY Phase I is innovative office and residential park for the City, analog exist in China megapolises and Moscow’ “Moscow City”. Hudson Yards is not a dull assembly of boxy towers, they are chards of metal and concrete glass and granite base different pieces of architecture marvels, by various architectors, by various design, shape, height, materials used and even construction methods never seen before in NY since completion of Rockefeller Center and maybe WFC with marina on Hudson park and New WTC with it’s Memorial and Museum. However New WTC is still missing Performance Arts Center who still under slow pace of construction there and still unknown fate of construction for future 2 WTC tower. Phase I of HY is still not finished, the last tower of this phase, 50 HY is still is not over the street level construction phase, and the same applied for BIG “Spiral” 66 HY Blvd and 3 HY Blvd, who’s history is decade older than the rest of Hudson Yards. These two buildings is important for continuing Hudson Yards Boulevard and Park to the north up to West 39th Street. Several tall towers will surround brand new park and boulevard. Also, main phase II of Hudson Yards Complex will obstruct view to Hudson from “Vessel” and re-positioned
    its main view to Hudson Boulevard and Park and skyscraper far West Side up to the north of 42nd Street. And since it will stay free of charge to the public it’s alternative to the expensive but over 1000 feet high observation platform view. The “Vessel” or “Structure” in the Air is a continuation of High Line, a popular Greenway in the Air!!!

  14. When I mentioned in last comment “3 HY”, I mean this architecture proposals back to 1990s when they are plan to built 1000 feet tall a 60 story plus World Production Center, a complex of HQ of medical oriented companies and their demonstration center of their products. It was long before Hudson Yards, and long before idea of Olympic Stadium and 7 line extension for NYC Subway. Idea was scrapped by few Recessions, and finally even Related start realizing idea of totally brand new Office and Residential Complex, who changed landscape near Jacob Javits Conventional Center. Who turned deserted relic office buildings and low rise warehouses into World Class Neighborhood and Office Park, what’s comparable with scale of Construction of Battery Park City and World Financial Center complex in FiDi of Manhattan during 1980s!!!

  15. I’m placing these long and little historical comments for those people who doesn’t know much about how dark this neighborhood was before first crane up their first building in 2012, long before that, in 1990s, early 2000s. This a good transformation of deserted scary neighborhood of relic half-ruined brick warehouses and factory buildings, from Meatpacking District to Upper West Side!!! I live in New York for 30 years, and visited this part of Manhattan many times in 1990s and early 2000s, this change transformation is very impressive and grandier than anything else I witnessed before and after, even rebuilt site of New WTC!!! And while in decade of making, since 2008, Hudson Yards saw this first construction crane only by 2012, when crew came to construct first tower, 10 Hudson Yards!!!
    First Major Office Tower in NYC except WTC rebuilding efforts since Great Recession of 2008-2010. In NYC of 2011 Recession wasn’t yet finished, as well anywhere in country outside District of Columbia. Actually Hudson Yards signals the rest of World that Recession is almost over and United States start recovering, it was happening in 2012, when 10 Hudson Yards Tower start crane up!!!!

  16. It will look like hell in a year.

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