This is the last and spectacular monument of New York

The staircase is the most important invention of humanity, an element that has accompanied us to the heights during our evolution.


When I saw Vessel’s first infographics, the mega-staircase that was projected for New York (always New York), I remember thinking: «Ok, a new eccentricity that won’t see the light.» And when it reached my ears that they were melting the first pieces that would give life to the colossus in circular forms, I imagined that it would be another unfinished work … but I was wrong, although, I assure you, it does not make me sad. Sometimes it is very pleasant to err.

The genius behind the lamp is called Thomas Heatherwick, who runs a studio with his name (easy to find) and who imagined a monument to the staircase, a sculpture that can be visited in its entirety, that would go around and have a wide range of roads, as they did in India with their Baoris, or reservoirs, yes, for very different reasons, those for the easy collection of water and the English artist for the creation of a unique public space.

It is located in a park in the middle of Hudson Yards, a first-class urban remodeling that is being carried out in Manhattan and that, according to the operating company, Related Companies, is called to be the new heart of the city, an innovative, sustainable neighborhood and last generation. There, on the subway railway tracks, they are building a public square with gardens designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz (landscape architects), covering two hectares of tree-lined squares, gardens and a huge fountain 60 meters long.

Vessel is a container with a truncated conical shape (a glass, let’s go) whose base rests on the ground and in which the walls have been replaced by linked stairs and thus, combining structures in reverse you can go up or down to its top, a fifth plant. In total, 154 interconnected sections of stairs, 2,500 steps and 80 platforms have been created where you can rest, enjoy the surrounding show or chat happily (or not).

Its construction began in April of this year and we could see really attractive images of the moment in which the pieces of the “lego” were fitting during the following months. The company that has prefabricated the platforms is the Italian Cimolai SpA, an expert in metal constructions, such as the Calatrava World Trade Center exchanger, the segments have traveled. from Monfalcone to New York (that’s it).

The spectacular staircase occupies (we are talking about today) a total of 2,210 square meters and up to 1,000 people can walk through it, eye, this limits the influx of public and must be controlled by someone … implying an expense tacitly (management , personnel, surveillance, etc). It is expected to open to the public at the end of 2018, next to the public square and gardens, although the structure will be completed much earlier.

The new icon of the Upper West Side will cost, at its completion, about 200 million dollars (about 170 euros), will rise to 46 meters high and its lower surfaces are made of my favorite metal: copper. And to give it greater presence, polishing (can you say «take it now»?). Thus, when you admire the sculpture from below, the coppery orange will illuminate the girls in your eyes, making it worth not climbing the stairs.

The sections weigh more than 45,300 kilos, are made with incarnated painted steel, to protect the metal from atmospheric actions and give it a pleasant tone. Other companies that have been involved in the project since its inception in 2013 are the Oxford Properties Group developers, the Thornton Tomasetti engineering studio and the Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates architecture studio.

According to Heatherwick, «the effect of going up and down the stairs of Vessel creates a personal rhythm in each visitor,» he also adds that visitors can climb, spend time and philosophize about the complexity and materiality of life. More than one will be ecstatic by the transition of 15 meters in diameter in the lower to 45 of the highest level. However, it will be an experience and a physical exercise for visitors.

By the way, I know you are wondering … What about accessibility? Is this monument to the staircase inaccessible to a range of the population? According to the promoters and designers, the strenuous sculpture will have a curved elevator, capable of moving those who cannot do it otherwise to the top. Anyway, we have to avoid parallel judgments, the staircase is the best invention of humanity, thanks to it we have reached the highest levels, and it seems nothing fair to label it as inaccessible, au contrarie.

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