Dezeen Magazine

interior view of The Vessel by Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick's Vessel set to reopen with "floor-to-ceiling steel mesh"

The Vessel viewpoint by Thomas Heatherwick is expected to reopen in New York this year, shrouded by steel netting to prevent people from jumping from its platforms.

It follows the closure of the structure in Hudson Yards in August 2021, after a 14-year-old boy became the fourth person to die there by suicide.

Related Companies, the developer behind Hudson Yards, has revealed that the Vessel is now due to reopen with more stringent suicide-prevention safety measures in place.

Vessel's highest platform to remain closed

This will include the installation of "floor-to-ceiling steel mesh" across half of the attraction's passable spaces, The New York Times has reported.

In addition, the highest level of the structure will remain permanently closed.

"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 television station CBS New York.

The Vessel by Heatherwick Studio
The Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick is expected to reopen this year

The Vessel is a honeycomb-shaped viewpoint formed of 154 staircases that meet at 80 platforms. Heatherwick Studio designed it as the centrepiece of the Hudson Yards development.

Its closure in 2021 was not the first time it had to be shut off to the public. In January 2021, it was closed after the death of a 21-year-old man at the structure.

He was the third person to die there, following the suicides of a 24-year-old woman in December 2020 and a 19-year-old man in February 2019 shortly before the structure's official opening.

The Vessel had briefly reopened in May 2021 with updated safety measures that included a buddy system to prevent people from entering the attraction alone.

Safety concerns raised as early as 2016

Following its closure in August 2021, Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross said "we thought we did everything that would really prevent this" in an interview with the American news website The Daily Beast.

However, according to UK architecture magazine Architects' Journal, Heatherwick Studio had also proposed safety barriers in its design, but the plans were never implemented.

Concerns about safety of the structure were raised as early as 2016, such as when Audrey Wachs of the Architect's Newspaper said: "when you build high, folks will jump".

The Vessel has also attracted criticism over its appearance, for being privately funded and the fact that Hudson Yards owned the rights to photographs taken at the structure.

In a talk with Dezeen in 2019, Heatherwick defended the project, stating that people "shouldn't underestimate what it takes" to build public spaces with private money.

Two years after its closure, author Matt Shaw said "the Vessel shows us how bad the vampiric ultra-wealthy are at making public space" in an opinion piece for Dezeen.

International helplines can be found at In the USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255, while in the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.