View from Vessel: DBB @ Hudson Yards
VIEW FROM VESSEL:
DAVIS BRODY BOND AT HUDSON YARDS
A group of us recently trekked to Hudson Yards for a pre-opening sneak preview of VESSEL, the distinctive honeycomb-shaped structure that sits in the middle of Hudson Yards, adjacent to Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Culture Shed, KPF’s 10 & 30 Yards, and our own firm’s comparatively modest One Hudson Yards. The brisk, breezy Spring day on which we visited the site was made even brisker and breezier by the riverfront site and the openness of the Vessel structure. The tour was led by our friend Chris Mackowiak of W&W AFCO Steel, the firm responsible for erecting the vessel as well as the steel fabricators for NYU’s 181 Mercer, currently sprouting up in the West Village.
Construction on the Vessel began in April 2017; it opened on March 15, 2019. Designed by the British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the elaborate structure rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb. Vessel is the main feature of the five-acre Hudson Yards Public Square. Funded by Hudson Yards developer the Related Companies (who was also our client for One Hudson Yards), its final cost was estimated to be $200 million.
The Vessel came in pieces from Italy where it was fabricated. Termed “dog bones,” the pieces were essentially landings with a half-flight of stairs up and down on either side, creating a low X-shape in elevation. The hollow interior of each bone was bolted together by workers from the inside. Though the route from the pier where the bones were unloaded to the site was short, workers were forced to take an arduous route due to height and load restrictions. Chris, our tour guide, had to physically measure every non-removable obstacle along the route. The dog bones were moved late at night with a team tasked with taking down and replacing overhead street signs en route.
The structure's name is apparently still a work in progress. Its original name was “TKA,” or "Temporarily Known As.” The owners have asked the public to give it a formal name and have a website devoted to naming it. One of the most discussed names on social media was "The Shawarma,” after the cone-shaped Middle Eastern meat popular on street carts.