Became famous thanks to the television series Mad Men, where filming took place, the Time & Life Building, built in 1959, needed a good overhaul. Between outdated mechanical systems, a weathered lobby, and an energy-inefficient building envelope, the aging tower was struggling to compete in the New York commercial real estate market.

In 2014, Mad Men begins its last season, and the main tenant of the building decides to move. This came as a shock to the owner-developer Rockefeller Group, who then turned to the architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to transform this Manhattan building and make it more competitive.  

Now known as 1271 Avenue of the Americas, the vacant building was 99% leased, even before construction was complete! This achievement speaks to the benefit of strategic interventions that preserve rather than demolish, serving not only building owners and users, but also the public and the planet.

The facade replacement was the most important of the five interrelated components of the repositioning. 

At 1271, the team also oversaw the restoration of the mid-century lobby finishes and expanded the space to accommodate new reception desks for a multi-tenant configuration, while respecting the intent of historical design. Other renovations carried out include modernization of the mechanical, life safety and elevator systems, as well as refitting the interior of the elevator cabins. 

These improvements have created a more livable and attractive workplace. Even better: the tower is now LEED Gold certified, a guarantee of a high environmental quality building!

Major League Baseball was the first company to rent office space in the renovated tower, and opened its flagship store in the main commercial space in front of the plaza. 

A beloved icon of the Mad Men era, 1271 Avenue of the Americas today represents the potential of buildings from the past century to be part of a more sustainable future. 


Visuals ©: Albert Vecerka, ESTO


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