HUDSON YARDS — A $150 million structure made up of more than 150 flights of stairs will take center stage at a 5-acre public plaza heading to the Hudson Yards, officials revealed Wednesday.
“Vessel,” as it is currently called, will offer the public a mile of climbable space inside a 15-story steel frame, British architect Thomas Heatherwick said before unveiling renderings of the structure at a press conference Wednesday.
The "public landmark" will have 154 winding flights of stairs, including nearly 2,500 steps and 80 landings, he explained.
Its base will measure 50 feet in diameter before widening to 150 feet at the top.
“We wondered, ‘What if you could make a project out of just stairs?’” he told an audience that included Mayor Bill de Blasio, Related Companies chairman and founder Stephen Ross, and businessman Dan Doctoroff, who is credited with giving Hudson Yards its name.
Ross, whose firm is developing the new neighborhood along with Oxford Properties Group, likened the yet-to-be-revealed sculpture to the Eiffel Tower back in May.
On Wednesday, he compared “Vessel” to another iconic destination.
“If you live in New York, or you come to New York, you have to go see the tree at Rockefeller Center — that’s just part of New York,” he said. “I wanted to create a 365-day Christmas tree.”
“Vessel” will cost Related and Oxford approximately $150 million, while the public square surrounding it will run an additional $50 million, a Related spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Heatherwick — whose studio designed the Olympic Cauldron at the 2012 Olympic Games in London — said he was struck by the number of people wearing suits with white sneakers when he visited New York in the 1980s.
His creation could be a daily destination for fitness-centric New Yorkers, he said.
“This could be the white-sneakered, ultimate morning fitness thing for someone coming at 6 o’clock in the morning every day,” he suggested.
The structure could also provide a place for meditation, not to mention “slinky championships,” he joked.
It will eventually rise in a more than 5-acre plaza and garden space that will connect the High Line with Hudson Yards' new park.
Following the unveiling, de Blasio said he was “impressed” by Heatherwick’s creation.
“I’m struck by the notion that this could be a place… for people to be active, but also a place that will cause us to reflect and think,” he said.
He warned the architect that each New Yorker would have his or her own opinion about "Vessel."
“Do not be dismayed — this is just the way we are,” he said. “But everyone will be talking about it, and everyone will be coming to see it.”