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Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel is set to reopen to the public at Hudson Yards

United States Architecture News - Apr 17, 2024 - 11:17   1295 views

Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel is set to reopen to the public at Hudson Yards

Thomas Heatherwick's speculative Vessel is set to reopen to the public at Hudson Yards this year, after the closure of the viewpoint in 2021 following four suicides. 

The 150-foot--tall (46-metre) structure was closed was closed after a 14-year-old male jumped from the tower in July 2021

While three similar suicide cases were recorded from Vessel in December 2020 and January 2021, the first case was reported in February 2019.

Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards, announced that Vessel will now reopen with stricter safety measures in place, reported in an article by The New York Times.

Vessel will feature "floor-to-ceiling steel mesh" on multiple staircases

While the exact opening date is not specified in the article, it was announced that the building will be opened this year. According to The New York Times's report, the structure will be wrapped by "floor-to-ceiling steel mesh" netting on multiple staircases.

In addition, while the two lowest floors of the structure will remain fully open, the structure's top level will remain permanently closed to the public.

"Through a closely coordinated effort with Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, we have developed a plan to install floor-to-ceiling steel mesh on Vessel while also preserving the unique experience that has drawn millions of visitors from around the globe," a spokesperson for Hudson Yards told CBS New York.

It was reported that the steel mesh cannot be cut or removed by visitors.

Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel is set to reopen to the public at Hudson Yards

The Vessel for Hudson Yards in New York. Image © Michael Moran

Heatherwick's speculative Vessel features 154 staircases and 80 platforms

The giant honeycomb-like sculpture features 154 staircases and 80 platforms, zigzagging together to form a web of nearly 2,500 individual stairs. Vessel was one of Heatherwick's most controversial projects from the day it was designed.

Heatherwick first revealed design for Vessel in 2016.

The first suicide was reported in February 2019 and a 19-year-old man from New Jersey jumped from the Vessel, reported The New York Times. 

On December 21, 2020, the second case was reported and a 24-year-old woman from Brooklyn died by jumping from the structure. The third case was reported on January 11, 2021 and a 21-year-old man named Franklin Washington jumped from the Vessel, reported by The New York Times. 

The fourth suicide case on the Vessel was reported on July 29, 2021 with a 14-year-old male jumping from the structure. This resulted in the building being closed for public use at that time.

After the fourth suicide case, Stephen Ross, the developer of the Hudson Yards, said: "It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen," said Stephen Ross, the developer of the Hudson Yards. 

"But I feel terrible for the family," Ross said. "I want to explore every feasible possibility we can, but for now the Vessel is closed," Ross added.

Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel is set to reopen to the public at Hudson Yards

From interior view of The Vessel. Image © Michael Moran

In response, Heatherwick Studio told WAC: "We’re distraught about the news of Thursday’s tragedy."

"Working with our partners at Related, the team exhaustively explored physical solutions that would increase safety and they require further rigorous tests, and while we have not identified one yet, we continue to work to identify a solution that is feasible in terms of engineering and installation," the studio added. 

Concerns about the safety of the structure were raised in 2016 with an article by The Architect's Newspaper writer Audrey Wachs. Stating that barrier heights still pose a problem, Wachs wrote that this could cause more deaths in the structure.

Find out international helplines can be found at befrienders.org. For the USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. 

Top image in the article © Michael Moran.

> via The New York Times 

Heatherwick Studio Hudson Yards New York Thomas Heatherwick Vessel