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Timeless Location & Design

Since the 1960’s the name Time-Life has been a staple in the country’s vernacular from the days of Time Inc.’s notable magazines and books, just as the Time-Life building has always been an integral building at the hub of the New York City’s Rockefeller Center. This icon of mid-century modern architecture, located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, has always been a symbol of inspiration to those who have passed this signature structure  as a tourist or tenant. But even icons need a facelift from time to time to keep pace with the changing needs of business and new clientele.  


The Rockefeller Group is behind the ambitious $600 million extensive top-to-bottom makeover to assure this world-renowned building will continue to turn heads well into the future. The 48-story building, located between West 50th and West 51st streets across from Radio City Music Hall, was the office tower and former home of Time Inc. It was originally designed by Harrison, Abramovitz, & Harris and built in 1959. World-renowned architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners is the design architect for this complete transformation. The impact begins from the outset as the comprehensive project will dramatically improve views and light with a new exterior facade, revive the plaza, and reimagine the lobby’s stunning design. The design team has stressed that the end result must reflect and glorify the majestic identity of the building, but give it a fresh modern feel.


Pei Cobb Freed 1271 Rendering

Rendering Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.


The final vision demands attention to detail that extends from infrastructure upgrades to improved energy efficiency to creating a brighter, healthier, more pleasant work environment. With Turner Construction as the primary builder, the design calls for replacing the building’s entire curtain wall – all 450,000 square feet of it – to create a more transparent, light-bathed interior space. Elements of the project also include restoration of the lobby and installing new elevators.

The team decided upon updating the façade with windows that have a higher ratio of clear glass to opaque spandrel so more natural light floods into the building. Due to the intricate work and substantial experience required in retro-fitting large facades like this, the group hired noted design and glazing professionals from W&W Glass, Inc. of New York City. Other significant recladding projects W&W Glass has finished similar to this project are 655 Madison Avenue and 100 Park Avenue. Also, the firm recently ascended from #10 to #6 on this year’s New York Top Specialty Firms list.


1271 Avenue of the Americas Curtain Wall Rendering

Rendering of the renovated curtain wall. Courtesy of 1271 Avenue of the Americas


After months of collaboration and discussion, the team decided  to go with 450,000 square feet of Sotawall® custom unitized curtain wall, Erie Architectural Products Enviro/Facades™ custom-fabricated storefront systems and new all glass entrances. Incorporating Guardian Clear SNX-62/27 low-E glazing, thermal-breaks, and much larger window areas, the new continuous cladding areas provide 60 percent more vision area and enhanced energy performance while retaining the essential proportions of the original facade with vertical banded bays. The new facade, which includes a large multi-story podium, will have approximately 8,000 new curtain wall panels installed by W&W Glass. Typical panel sizes for the tower are 4’4″ wide by 12′ tall and the podium area utilizes over-sized glass and panels as large as 9’8″ wide by 19’8″ tall in some areas. The skin is being reclad as areas throughout the exterior facade are being carefully demolished, floor by floor, to make way for the new panels to be set as to not open up the building entirely while still occupied and to create enclosed spaces for leasing as complete. At present, the floors from 3-7 are fully set.


1271 Avenue of the Americas - Transformation of Old to New

Transformation of old curtain wall to new on 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

An entrance renovation was also needed to bring in more natural light into the lobby, which will feature new artwork and special imported stone from Italy. Two large pieces of art depicting upper and lower Manhattan were created in artist Mark Bradford’s Los Angeles studio and will be on displayed. Each piece is roughly 22-feet by 22-feet.


Other features of the building, including HVAC, finishes, and distinctive Copacabana-patterned sidewalk outside the building, are also being upgraded and restored as part of the renovation. The renovation is slated to be complete for new tenant occupancy in 2018.


For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals, please visit our project portfolio.


W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

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