Despe Self-Climbing Kokoon Perimeter Protection System completes 50 Hudson Yards, begins 2 Manhattan West

50 Hudson Hards
50 Hudson Yards rises with Despe

Growing in popularity as the cocoon of choice with NYC high-rise projects, Despe’s Kokoon is winning over developers for its differentiating features – the biggest being that with the push of a button it climbs from floor-to-floor as a complete single unit.

As many have already come around to the reality that traditional panel protection systems are inefficient and time-consuming to relocate, others have gone a step further to realize that there are cocoons and then there are Kokoons. Shortening crane time and lowering labor costs in addition to all the worker and pedestrian safety benefits, it’s no wonder that key New York City real estate players such as Related Companies, Oxford Properties Group and Brookfield are among those working with Despe.

An actual machine unlike all other cocoons on the market and none of which are mechanical, the Kokoon hydraulically climbs up the sides of building providing state-of-the-art structure around the steel frame of the building. It is also the only cocoon creating more workspace on the perimeter of the building where you need it most, Despe’s Kokoon can carry with it all compressors, welding plant, control room and additional spaces such as changing room, coffee break room or cafeteria – reducing worker’s elevator trips. And with Despe’s Kokoon sites don’t have to jump all of the tools up – they move up with the cocoon.

Offering a wall of a solid steel plate around the building’s perimeter that comes to shoulder height, unlike any other cocoon, the Kokoon creates a more comfortable work environment, offering a sense of security where laborers do not feel they are at the edge of the building. Steelworkers in an enclosed, protected space can be bolting but not hanging off the edge of the building. Standing on the platform working, this steel plate also weatherproofs.

The Kokoon is the result for the need to make protection systems efficient and fit for purpose. It blends sophisticated equipment technologies with great project planning, managed by highly dedicated and professional persons, something that NYC fully embraced and made possible.

As to what’s on the immediate horizon for Despe, in NYC since 50 Hudson Yards topped out on Feb. 19 Despe has begun working on the 935-foot-tall office skyscraper 2 Manhattan West – part of Brookfield’s ambitious large-scale development projects – an eight-acre, six-building mixed-use complex also including the identical architectural twin 1 Manhattan West, which the Kokoon erected in 2018.

SCK technician inside the Despe control room, 1 Manhattan West
SCK technician inside the Despe control room, 1 Manhattan West

A 40-year-old family business from Bergamo, Italy – the Italian hub of construction innovation, Despe is highly regarded around the world for its solutions for complex challenges faced by high-rise construction and demolition in dense, urban areas. Despe has completed projects in all main European countries such as France, England, Scotland and then progressively Middle East countries and U.S.A. so to bring its great experience to manage construction, deconstruction and special projects.

While known in the United States for its Self Climbing Kokoon, Despe is primarily known in the rest of the world for its TopDownWay, a demolition method that is an alternative to explosives, an innovative, safe, eco-friendly and swift solution for the controlled demolition of urban skyscrapers. With TopDownWay all the material generated by the demolition works within the containment structure (glass, rubble, debris, noise, vibrations, dust, and sprayed water).

As the work progresses, the platform descends in a controlled manner until it reaches zero level and the building has been completely demolished, without the need to scaffold the entire building. A new, safe, cost reducing, precise way of demolishing old buildings, this technology had proved itself as the preferred and only way to reach the objective: demolishing in the safest manner possible, a lower cost, and greatly reduced schedule.

For more information on the Self Climbing Kokoon and Despe, general inquiries or to inquire about a project visit and

50 Hudson Yards“Participating in the construction of 50 Hudson Yards was an incredible professional satisfaction because the customer strongly wanted our SCK system after trying other technologies, so there was no need to convince them: they were already convinced of their choice.

In addition, the challenge was managing the assembly and commissioning of the machine with an ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic; this condition put our assistance facilities under severe stress, but in the end we made it and, in cooperation with our Customer, the project was successfully completed.

Looking back and seeing that we participated in the construction of an iconic skyscraper, designed by an Archistar like Sir Norman Foster, within one of the most iconic future neighborhoods of New York, is a source of great satisfaction and pride.

Now, the next project, takes us back to Manhattan West, where it all started and for us it’s like coming home; we will find the original Team, Metropolitan Walters, with whom we developed the debut of the Self Climbing Kokoon in 2017 and we can’t wait to get back to working with all of them to deliver the second, SouthEast Tower.”— Riccardo Castracani of Despe North America LLC


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