Back in September 2016, British architect Thomas Heatherwick revealed plans for a monumental centerpiece of New York City’s Hudson Yards. Finally, Heatherwick’s architectural masterpiece is now officially open to the public. The spectacular structure, Vessel, is certainly a showstopper due to its unique honeycomb design. Manhattan has been the home of notable landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. And it’s just a matter of time before this giant honeycomb structure becomes one of Manhattan’s iconic monuments.
Vessel stands at 150 feet featuring 154 intertwining staircases with 80 landings. The giant honeycomb walkway structure has been opened to the public as of March 15, 2019. Visitors can now book free tickets to visit this remarkable space. People have been flocking to the Vessel since its opening. With so many people walking up and down the stairs, it surely looks like a busy beehive from the outside. The construction of the Vessel is part of Manhattan’s initiative to transform Hudson Yards into a dining and shopping destination. After the successful construction of the Vessel, plans for the next project is already in the process. That is to transform an outdoor space into 5 acres of gardens that will showcase over 28,000 plants and trees. Furthermore, there are also plans that will connect the area to the famous High Line.
The unveiling of this giant honeycomb structure definitely puts the spotlight on Hudson Yards. Although the area is the largest private real estate development in the country, there hasn’t been any major development since 1930. That was the time when the Rockefeller Center was built. The Vessel project proves to be a brilliant move. Without a doubt, this marvelous feat has successfully captured the eyes and interest of the public. Flaunting its shiny copper construction, Vessel serves as a functional workpiece that allows public interaction.
Heatherwick’s inspiration for this intricately contemporary design is based on Indian stepwells. He has always been fascinated with India’s historical water management. And he was able to bring this inspiration to life with the Vessel. When asked what this giant honeycomb structure is for, Heatherwick explains “It’s not a building, it’s not a sculpture, it’s not an artwork, and yet it has scale and relevance to all of those typologies… In a way, we’re thinking of this as a piece of furniture. Its ongoing use will evolve, quite naturally.”
Taking the architect’s statement into consideration, the definite status of the Vessel still remains a mystery. How the people would classify this ‘furniture’ will depend on how they see it. Some people categorize it as a ‘viewing platform’ that allows them to look out over the incredible Hudson River. Others are categorizing it as an ‘art piece’ due to its visually-appealing interweaving staircases that look like MC Escher’s masterpiece. Regardless of how you classify it, there’s no denying that this giant honeycomb structure is absolutely one-of-a kind.