NEW YORK CITY — The trend of buildings that look like vases has come stateside, it seems. On September 14 Heatherwick Studio revealed their grand design for “Vessel,” a 150-foot tall grid of staircases, more than a mile of them, in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development. The vase-shaped building will be the centerpiece of a development the studio called “the largest in New York City since the Rockefeller Center.”
The studio states of the not quite contemporary ceramics building:
Rather than just be something to look at, Heatherwick Studio‘s design undertook the challenge of creating a landmark every inch of which could be climbed and explored. Vessel will lift the public up, offering new ways to look at New York, Hudson Yards and each other.
Its 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,400 steps and 80 landings will create a mile’s worth of pathway rising up above the public plaza. It will stand 150 feet tall, with a diameter of 50 feet at its base, widening to 150 feet at its top. Currently in fabrication in Italy, it is constructed of a structural painted steel frame with its underside surfaces covered by a polished copper-coloured steel skin.
The building is scheduled for completion in 2018, not too far away for something of this nature. ArchDaily notes that the scope of the project has gotten larger, at least in terms of the price. The building initially cost $75 million, but doubled in price to $150 million.
The stairs put me in mind of a labyrinth, only you’d be walking up and down cell-like geometry rather than in a linear spiral. The abstraction of the vase is a good idea, it’s not a 1:1 representation as we’ve seen in other projects. In addition to the structure itself, the immediate area surrounding it will be home to a park and event area, encouraging New Yorkers to gather around this new landmark.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe this work of (not) contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.