The Vessel (TKA) (also known as “The stairs of New York”) is a structure and visitor attraction. This is built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan, New York City. It is located 5-acre (2.0 ha) from the Hudson yards public square. Built to design by the British designer Thomas Heather wick, the elaborate honeycomb-like structure.

The TKA abbreviation in the name of the structure means “Temporarily Known As”. This design consists of 154 flights, 2500 steps, and 80 landings with a total length of the stairs exceeding 1 mile (1.6 km).

The vessel by Thomas heather wick, New York-USA
over view “The vessel”

Case study of The vessel

  • Design type: Public landmark
  • Location: Manhattan, New York, United States,
  • Area : 2.210 m2
  • Height:46m
  • Year: 2017-2019
  • Architect : Thomas Heatherwick
  • Landscape Architect: Nelson Byrd Woltz
  • Structural engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
  • Developer:  Related companies, Oxford properties group.


The concept of the public landmark is Jungle gym and after Indian stepwell. Certainly, it can hold thousands of people at a time.

Heather wick said: “My studio was appointed to design a centerpiece for a strange new real estate land in New York. Our first idea was that it shouldn’t be something to take a gander at in a city loaded with eye-getting structures. Rather we needed to make something that everyone could utilize, contact, and identify with.

Conceptual sketch

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“Exactly when I was a student, I became hopelessly enamored with an old discarded excursion of wooden strides outside a local structure site. It got my creative mind and I cherished that it was part furniture and part foundation. Therefore, you could climb up steps, bounce on them, dance on them, get drained on them, and plonk yourself down on them.

“A long time later, out of nowhere, there was a chance to design another sort of landmark for Hudson Yards.

The vessel by Thomas heather wick, New York-USA
Indian step-well

About the structure

The Vessel is a new sort of public landmark– a 16-story round climbing frame. Above all, it has 2,465 phases, 80 arrivals, and viewpoints across the Hudson River and Manhattan. It is one of the greatest land projects in American history, which is changing a past rail yard in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. More than five areas of new open spaces and gardens are well-Known for the place.

The vessel by Thomas heather wick, New York-USA
Bird-eye view

Further, this means making a three-dimensional grid, the public square could be extended upwards, making beyond what a mile of courses that could be investigated unexpectedly way. To make the constant mathematical example of the stepwell, with 154 interconnecting stairwells, the article must act naturally supporting. However, a tactful primary arrangement was required. But it does not require extra segments and shafts. The embedded steel spine is between each pair of flights of stairs, making a characteristic division among ‘all over. Meanwhile, the crude welded steel of this design is presented to give the article clearness and respectability. After that, the underside of the flights of stairs is clad in a profound copper-conditioned metal, separating them from the encompassing engineering.

Each component of the Vessel is custom-made, from the joints to the handrails. The expert fabricator Cimolai delivered 75 enormous steel parts from Venice. Before being brought from Italy in six shipments, conveyed by barge across the Hudson River. And amassed nearby in a cycle that required three years. However, despite the size of the Vessel, it has been planned at a human scale, to be climbed, investigated, and appreciated by New Yorkers and guests. The individuals vivified the straightforward design and the impressions of the square underneath.

Design model

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Materials used in The vessel

The Heather wick Studio group utilized non-destructive steel to cover each level of the construction. And copper-shaded metal sheets encompassed the soffits. This reflects the individuals standing in the square underneath. While the inside materials, like the concrete, are a lot hazier and steady with the metropolitan climate.

The vessel by Thomas heather wick, New York-USA
Copper-shaded metal sheets (Entrance)


In April 2017, development authoritatively started on Vessel. Moreover, Cimolai pre-assembled 75 individual units and S.P.An in their Italian office before being sent to New York and amassed nearby. In addition to it, ten pieces were at that point in New York as of April, with the leftovers. Throughout 2017 plan to show up and collect the vessel, went.

In December 2017, Vessel finished out following eight months of development, well in front of its planned opening alongside the entire Public Square and Gardens in the fall of 2018. Throughout 2018, Nelson Byrd Woltz encompasses the arrangement to introduce the design’s last mechanical and well-being parts. Landscape Architects as a team with Heather wick Studio. The public garden in whose square Vessel stands is a colossal green space of 20,234m2. That has 28,000 plants and trees.

On-site construction

Design critics of The vessel

The Vessel opened, critics wrote that it was generally inaccessible for wheelchair users. Above all, the steps make the public landmark. Certainly, it has just a single lift to one of the arrangements of landings. Because of this, the disability-rights group fought outside the structure. The United States Department of Justice documented an objection claiming that due to the number of isolated arrivals inside the Vessel. The vast majority of the design was not agreeable with the Americans with Disabilities Act, aside from the parts straightforwardly outside the lift.

Moreover, for congestion concerns lift stops on the fifth and seventh stories were now and again avoided. In December 2019, Related Companies and Vessel administrator ERY Vessel LLC agreed with the Department of Justice to build availability to the construction by adding wheelchair lifts and holding lift admittance to all levels.

The vessel by Thomas heather wick, New York-USA
Top-down view
Rooftop view


Thomas Heather wick said, “Vessel is one of the most complicated pieces of steelwork ever made. Today we donate the energizing second when the remainder of the huge 75 pre-manufactured pieces voyaged right from Italy to Manhattan. That has been gathered early and with bewildering mathematical precision. Throughout the following not many months we’ll zero in on introducing the last subtleties of the design. As its clearing, balustrades, lighting, and cladding meet up to finish this diverse sort of open space.”

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Vinusha Vijayan
Vinusha vijayan is an Architect. Who is with more aspirations and involvement towards the profession. She is a minimalistic and modern intense ideological one, who loves to explore the profession. Writing about the buildings, architecture, designs, history, urbanization is a process of Self-learning and serving our knowledge to others. I wish to share my explorations here.

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