Vessel is a groundbreaking sculpture at Hudson Yards, visionary developer Stephen Ross’ 26-acre mixed-use development in New York; featuring over 12 million square feet of office, residential and retail space within a new neighbourhood that sits atop an active rail yard complex, it is the largest development in US history.
We worked with Heatherwick Studio to create Vessel, a unique multi-storey sculpture, to sit at the heart of the site. The vision is for it to be a modern day Statue of Liberty or Eiffel Tower, where visitors will encounter their own personal experience as they ascend and descend. It will be a focal point and attraction for the development and the wider city, serving not just as an art installation, but a destination and venue for world-class events as well.
We were responsible for developing the geometric, structural design from concept through to the detailed design phase. The structure is wrapped into a large ‘cup’ shape, approximately 46 m high and 50 m in diameter at its widest. A peculiarity of this pattern is its smooth transition from five landings at the bottom to six at the top.
Designed as a lattice of ramps and landings, forming a rigid, monolithic structure, Vessel is characterised by inner and outer layers of stair ramps. An ‘interlayer’ is generated by shifting both layers of ramps towards each other and by creating a structural overlap. This interlayer constitutes the primary vertical support. In all, the vertical, zigzagging pattern includes 80 landings and 154 flights of stairs, comprising almost 2,500 individual steps.
From a strength point of view, Vessel can accommodate a relatively large number of visitors. Nevertheless, a limit was set due to the dynamic behaviour, requiring structural vibrations to be kept at an acceptable level. For this, we developed a specific dynamic response acceptance criterion based on human sensitivity. This was integrated into the design as a series of tuned mass dampers on multiple levels to attenuate vibrations.
To discover the structural story behind the Vessel, click the link below for our 'Story Within'.
A unique, monolithic sculpture and events space as part of the Hudson Yards development, New York
New York, USA