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. Thornton Tomasetti were engineers of record on this project.
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