On Manhattan’s West Side is the Hudson Yards, which is one of the largest mixed-use private real-estate projects in American history. Its neighbourhood has four skyscrapers; a seven-story shopping mall; a cultural center; and a structure with a futuristic design called “The Vessel”. They designed the Vessel New York to be an interactive sculpture and a public space.

The intentions behind the piece were to design a monument in Hudson Yards that engages people and not overshadows the surrounding towers. It is a place for the public and residents of the neighbourhood to socialize. The structure has a 360-degree view and is eminently and intentionally viewable from most places in Hudson Yards.

Here are ten facts about this massive structure :

1. Vessel, New York has a Massive Structure | Vessel New York

The Vessel’s is created with a design of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs. These stairs collectively have almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings. The designers made these staircases of bronzed-steel and concrete and have an interlaced structure that offers a remarkable view of New York City, the river through its vertical climb.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet1

2. Massive yet limited

The designers wanted to create something with a fewer footprint so that it would not create any chaos at the entrance. Thus the vessel’s design has a diameter of50 feet at its base, which extends to 150 feet at its 6-story peak as it grows vertically. Even though this massive structure is quite stable, for the sole purpose of safety, the authorities have inflicted a limit of 1000 people at a time.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet2
©Flickr user Mobilus In Mobili via

3. Ancient Indian Influence

The Heatherwick studio wanted to create something that allowed the people and the users to be a part of the massive structure and interact with it. The design of the world-renown step-wells of Rajasthan influenced them. The mesmerizing visual effect that the step-wells created because of their repeating steps, flights, and landings intrigued them. “This idea emerged, influenced in part by some stunning images we found of the stepwell that exist in India, in Rajasthan, which were a way that people could get down to the water,” says Heatherwick to Dezeen.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet3
Step-Wells : ©

4. Visual and Practically Balanced design

Although at first glance the structural design appears to be mostly staircases, it is fully convenient for the differently-abled. The structure has concealed ramps and elevators, thus following the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet4

5. Vessel, New York: Imported Fabrication | Vessel New York

The vessel, New York is 16 stories high and its most important material is the beautiful modern raw welded and painted copper-like steel. They imported this from a specialist steel fabricator in Venice, Italy. The structure’s costs are estimated to be 200 million US dollars. They fabricated the structure’s skeleton in Italy which then arrived in New York in six separate shipments which they then assembled like pieces of a gigantic puzzle at the Hudson Yards.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet5

6. Reason Behind the Idea

With the increasing competition, the company needed a signature that would capture the world’s attention. The only direction given to the heather wick studio was to create a “galvanizing moment”. They compare the vessel to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to design a 365-days-a-year Christmas tree, which complied: they wanted every single person who visited it had to come to Hudson Yards.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet6

7. The Use of Unusual Materials

As mentioned earlier materials used in the structure are reflective copper-coloured steel, which acts as a mirror reflecting people standing or walking below on the ground of public square, and concrete used inside which creates an urban environment. The concept was that the warmth of the copper mimics a beating heart which contrasts the shimmering blues and silvers of nearby skyscrapers. The actions and movements taking place above and below every layer of the 150 foot-tall Vessel are mirrored with the purpose to make the experience more interactive for the people.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet7

8. Mixed reviews

The design of the Vessel, New York was critically appreciated but was also made fun of. Some people saw it as a monument to excess, while many drew its comparisons to different things. From time to time design critics have expressed its design as a ‘wastepaper basket’, ‘drinking glasses’, ‘shawarma’, and many more. Its design remains a topic of controversy, with remarks both positive and negative.

10 Things you did not know about Vessel, New York - Sheet8

9. The Vessel: not the actual name

The actual name of the structure is not meant to be “The Vessel”. The current given name is merely a temporary one to be used until the company can come up with a more permanent one. They have relied on the public to give the structure a new, official name from their experience of its design. The name will be selected by voting for one from the list of the best-suggested names.

©Flickr user Raphe Evanoff via

10. The Vessel, New York a secret project | Vessel New York

The developers took a lot of safeguards to keep the Vessel, New York a secret so that the ultimate design was concealed from being leaked before its opening. For this, they constructed a 20-foot fence around the steelworks in northwest Italy to conceal it. Here the skeleton of the Vessel was being created. They brought all the parts bit by bit to the U.S. They then floated these parts to the construction site using tugboats along New York’s Hudson River.


She is an architecture student currently studying in 3rd year, she likes writing particularly about all the architectural stuff and loves photography. She is still exploring on which architectural styles she is interested in and therefore using architectural writing and sketching as a way of discovering that.