The Vessel Hudson Yards

Elevating Art & Technology

The Vessel is the extraordinary centerpiece of Hudson Yards that was designed by London’s Heatherwick Studios as an interactive artwork to be experienced through its multitude of perspectives outwardly & within. The Vessel is a geometric latticework of copper-colored steel and concrete comprised of 154 interconnecting stairways, 80 landings and nearly 2500 stairs. Climbing the 7 stories may prove difficult for many visitors, so Related Companies and Heatherwick Studios reached out to Liberty Elevator Corporation to install and maintain an elevator to seamlessly fit within the open structure’s artistic aesthetic while complying with New York’s strict ADA requirements.

Liberty Elevator Corporation worked with Cimolai of Italy to create a custom elevator ‘shaft’ to fit along the contours of the structure with an oval, glass elevator cab that offers 360* views and universal access from its base to the landing at the pinnacle of the 150-foot Vessel. The elevator provides a smooth, quiet ride with extraordinary views of the Vessel’s interior. 

Unique Challenges

Liberty Elevator Corporation was challenged with integrating the elevator within the Vessel’s open air structure without compromising the structures artistic integrity, virtually hiding it in plain sight. The Vessel structure rises from a base that is 50 feet across with 5 openings and widens to 150 feet at the top creating a unique challenge when designing an elevator ‘shaft’ along a nonlinear path that has multiple pitch angles yet still makes contact at all 8 floors of varying depths. 

Once the shaft was designed, a custom drive system was implemented to account for the undulating curvature of the track while allowing a leveling of the cab floor at each of the eight landings.

Being outdoors and totally exposed to the full myriad of a New York City weather creates challenges of epic proportions. From humid sea air coming off the Atlantic Ocean in the summers to heavy Nor’easter snow storms in the winter, the Vessel elevator needs to be as resilient and reliable as the city itself for the thousands of guests visiting each day.

Cutting Edge Technology

With Liberty Elevator’s network of partners, they installed a one-of-a-kind lift system that utilizes an array of new technologies. The custom, oval glass cab is wireless utilizing an electrical Busbar system. The wireless controls remotely located, transmitted via Wi-Fi from the elevator room to the cab regulating and tracking all movements without traditional cables.

The cab is fully inclusive of all controls, motors and utilities. In order to permit visitors to observe the extraordinary views within the Vessel, the elevators’ mechanics—including the heating and cooling elements—are hidden within the floor.

The Rack N Pinion design allows for precise positioning and pivot of the integrated motor body independent of the cab platform, undulating as it elevates along the multi pitched track while keeping the cab level throughout travel.

Elevator Specifications 

  • Height- 139’-0”
  • Speed- Up to 100 FPM
  • Motor- 4 x 20 HP Dana Brevini Gear Motors
  • Materials – Rack and Pinion Elevating System with Custom Leveling Platform
  • Openings- 4 Openings
  • Controllers – Cimolai Technology with Siemens PLC Control Box


Project of the Year 2020

Liberty Elevator & their partners were recognized for the 2020 Project of the Year Award by Elevator World magazine based on the unique design, advanced technology, extreme creativity & amazing teamwork that went into the installation of the elevator in the Vessel at the Hudson Yards.

Liberty Elevator Corporation, Elevators that Move You

Press Release 

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