Heatherwick's 2,500-step sculpture rises in New York

Louise Dransfield

The interactive sculpture is the centrepiece of the 28 acre Hudson Yards scheme in Manhatten

Heatherwick Studio’s centerpiece for the new neighborhood development Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s west side in New York has started to rise out of the ground.

Vessel, which is comprised of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs totaling 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings, will sit in the new public square and gardens at the scheme expanding out and up from a 50ft diameter base to a diameter 150 ft at the top.

The structure, which is being made by Italian firm Cimolai at their facility in Monfalcone located in the Gulf of Trieste, once completed will provide the public with a one-mile vertical climb.

It is expected to open at the same time as the five-acre public square and garden designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio in the fall of 2018.

The new public realm is part of the largest development in New York City since the Rockefeller Center was built and is the biggest private real estate development in US history.

The scheme is being delivered by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group and will see 18 million sq ft of commercial and residential space with 4,000 new homes and more than 100 shops including New York’s first Neiman Marcus built.

Hudson Yards will also house a collection of restaurants curated by chef Thomas Keller, a luxury Equinox hotel with over 200 rooms, a 750-seat school and The Shed, a new centre for artistic invention.

It is expected to create over 23,000 construction jobs.

Heatherwick Studio founder Thomas Heatherwick said: “As one of the most complex and ambitious pieces of steelwork ever made, the next months will provide a one-off opportunity to see a future extraordinary structure emerge for New York.

“So, for those who are interested, I hope it will turn out to have been worth heading up onto the High Line to catch a glimpse of the complex geometry being pieced together like an incredible jigsaw puzzle.”

Stephen M. Ross, chairman of Related Companies, added: “An extraordinary amount of work by artisans and craftsmen has gone into reaching this day and we are excited to invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to watch its rise over the upcoming months. The interactive, engaging, innovative and beautiful structure embodies our city’s energy, activity and movement, and we look forward to the day when all can experience and experiment with it.”

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