Time-Life Building

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Time-Life Building
General information
Location 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York City
Coordinates 40°45′37″N 73°58′51″W / 40.760372°N 73.980799°W / 40.760372; -73.980799Coordinates: 40°45′37″N 73°58′51″W / 40.760372°N 73.980799°W / 40.760372; -73.980799
Completed 1958
Owner Rockefeller Group
Management Rockefeller Group
Top floor 179 m (587 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 48
Floor area 2,600 m2 (28,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Wallace Harrison of Harrison, Abramovitz, and Harris
Time-Life Building
Time-Life Building Sidewalk

The Time-Life Building is a 48-story office building, located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) in Rockefeller Center in New York City. It opened in 1959 as the Time & Life Building, designed by architect Wallace Harrison, of Harrison, Abramovitz, and Harris.[1]


The Time-Life building was the first of four in Rockefeller Center designed by Harrison, Abramovitz, & Harris on the west side of Sixth Avenue. Harris served as the building's project manager and was responsible for overall planning. The Time-Life Building was the first expansion of Rockefeller Center west of the Avenue of the Americas. Air rights were purchased from the Roxy Theatre to the west. The Roxy was torn down in 1960 to erect an office tower connected to the Time-Life building.

The building is clad in green glass and features column-free floors of 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2). Large murals by Josef Albers and Fritz Glamer adorn its lobby, which integrates a serpentine patterned sidewalk design found on the sidewalks of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach with the adjacent sidewalk, [1] a salute to its location on The Avenue of the Americas.

Time Inc., the publisher of Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, House & Home, and Architectural Forum magazines initially occupied 21 floors. CNN's American Morning was based there from 2002 to 2006. CNN's ground floor studio is occupied by the studio of SportsNet New York, currently CNBC Squawk Box.

In May 2014, Time Inc announced that the company was planning to leave the Time-Life building for the Brookfield Place complex in lower Manhattan.[2]

The Hemisphere Club[edit]

The Hemisphere Club, a members-only restaurant during the day, was located atop the building on the 48th floor; in the evenings it opened to the public as the Tower Suite. The restaurant was operated by Restaurant Associates, which also operated The Four Seasons Restaurant, La Fonda del Sol, The Rainbow Room, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, and later Windows on the World. The Hemisphere Club closed some time after 1991.[3]

La Fonda del Sol[edit]

La Fonda del Sol was a Latin American–themed restaurant opened in the Time-Life Building's lobby by Joseph Baum in 1960.[4] It featured bright, colorful, whimsical interiors designed by Alexander Girard and furniture by Charles Eames. It closed in 1971 and was replaced with a bank branch.[5]

Time-Life Chairs[edit]

In addition to furniture for the La Fonda del Sol restaurant, Charles Eames designed iconic chairs for the offices of Time-Life which have become known as Time-Life Chairs.[6] Eames designed them as a favor to Henry Luce, who had allowed Eames to use photos from the Time-Life archives for the pavilion he designed at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow.[7] The chairs remain in production and popular to this day, manufactured by Herman Miller of Zeeland, MI, though the original design with four legs at the base has been revised to include a fifth leg, referred to as a 5 star-base, for stability and to meet updated codes.[8]

In fiction[edit]

  • In the 1968 film version of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), waiting to meet a friend in front of the Time-Life Building, runs into her neighbor (Ruth Gordon). The scenes featuring Farrow and Gordon were filmed on location in the lobby and sidewalk in front of the Time-Life Building.
  • The Time-Life Building is also featured in a scene in the 1979 Woody Allen film, Manhattan. In the film, Isaac Davis (Allen), and his ex-wife Jill Davis (Meryl Streep) meet in front of the Time-Life Building. The two characters argue about the level of detail Jill can use in the confessional book she is writing about the failure of their marriage.
  • Starting in Season 4 of the television series Mad Men, the fictional headquarters of the advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (changed in Season 6 to Sterling Cooper & Partners) is located in Suite 3750 of the Time-Life Building (on the 37th floor). In a fifth season episode, "At the Codfish Ball", the characters eat at the Tower Suite. The agency's offices also prominently feature Eames Time-Life Chairs. On March 23, 2015, AMC, the network on which "Mad Men" airs, unveiled a bench in front of the building which features a sculpture of the iconic black silhouette of lead character Don Draper in the show's opening credits.[9]
  • The Time-Life Building features prominently in the 2013 film version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which depicts in part the publication of the last issue of Life magazine.



Inline citations[edit]

General references[edit]

  • Matthew A. Postal, Report: Time-Life Building, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, July 16, 2002, Designation List 338 LP-2119

External links[edit]