British designer Thomas Heatherwick has always been captivated by staircases since his student days. His 150-foot-tall sculptural monument- The Vessel- at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s Far West Side is created of 154 interconnecting stairs which convene and divide around 80 landings that offer uninterrupted views of New York City and the Hudson River. According to the architect, he inspired chiefly from ancient Indian step-wells, where more than a hundred flight of stairs descend considerably deep into the earth. While designing the Vessel, he brought the descending stairwell above ground level and changed it into a vertical walkway. However, the structure has seen three suicides in the last two years. It was temporarily closed for the visitors after a 21-year-old man jumped to his death from the building on 11th January 2021, which was the third suicide in less than a year. The building also attracted criticism due to its unusual aesthetic. After months of consultation with experts, the building was reopened with suicide prevention measures on 28th May. As it is an architectural marvel, we at SURFACES REPORTER (SR) present here architectural details of the Instagram-worthy monument. Take a look:
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Situated on the far west side of Manhattan, the Vessel is the largest private real estate project in the US.
Corresponding to A Christmas Tree
Its origin goes back to 2013 when Stephen Ross — chairman of The Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards- promised to reinvent the city’s skyline and further fortify tourism in the city by presenting a first-of-its-kind monument that would be “the equivalent of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Centre”.
The amazing thing is that unlike the Christmas tree, it will open throughout the year and be touched and climbed upon.
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While the world’s famous designers and sculptures proposed concepts that can be the centrepiece of the region but what blew Ross’ mind was the idea of British Designer Thomas Heatherwick.
154 Intricately Connecting Flight of Stairs
The stepwell-inspired Vessel is a 150-million-dollar structure that contains a 50 feet base diameter, and it ascends to a height that is almost equal to 15 storeys.
It has honeycomb-like interactive artwork and features 2,500 steps across 154 convolutedly interlocking flight of stairs attached by 80 viewing landings.
It Doubles Up As a Workout Platform
Another interesting feature of this building is it could double up just like a workout flatform. It also has an inclined glass elevator for people with disabilities.
Copper-Colour Cladded Steel Structure
The structure exudes an Iron Man vibe with its copper-hued steel façade. Manufactured in Monfalcone, Italy, the structure is a part of the 14-acre public square and gardens designed by landscape architect Thomas Woltz.
The public square is a segment of the bigger 28-acre Hudson Yards site, encompassing office residences, dining projects, retail outlets, office spaces, a public school and a cultural institution - The Shed.
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As suicide preventive measures, the solution would be to increase the height of the barrier.
‘Because the vessel’s chest-high barrier is all that separates the platform from the edge, the likelihood of a similar, terribly sad loss of life cannot be ignored,’ according to Lowell Kern, the chairman for the local community boards.
Thomas Heatherwick is a Britain-based architect known for many of his public installations, such as Pier 55 in New York City, the Garden Bridge in London, and the Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 London Olympics.
Project Name: The Vessel
Location: New York City, United States
Architect: Thomas Heatherwick
Architecture firm: Heatherwick Studio
Structural engineer: Thornton Tomasetti (Engineer Of Record) and AKT II (Design Engineer)
Main contractor: AECOM Tishman
Height: 150 ft (46 m)
Floor count: 16
Wikipedia, NY Times, www.heatherwick.com
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