Time & Life Building, London

Michael Rosenauer, for the shell of the building
Sir Hugh Casson and Misha Black for the interior
Peter Shepheard for the terrace
Leonard Manasseh to design the dining rooms.
Date Built
1951 - 1953
New Bond Street & Bruton Street
This Grade II* Listed building was built as the European Headquarters of the Time & Life publishing company.  English-Heritage say that, " The building was largely finished in December 1952, but was not formally opened until 1953, and the fitting out of the upper floors was not completed until 1954. ... Time Life was the first of a series of enterprising American companies to patronise good architects and designers in a way not matched by native entrepreneurs. The company wanted to 'reflect the character and style of the best in contemporary British design' (Architectural Design, April 1953) and the project benefited for being the first major commercial office building of the post-war period to be built without the restrictions applied to most projects at the time."

The building comprises, "Seven storeys, the top storey set back, all above a basement and car park. It occupies a corner plot on New Bond Street and Bruton Street, the main entrance being on Bruton Street. ... Mounted on the transom above the entrance is a nickel bronze sculpture, 'The Symbol of Community' by Maurice Lambert RA" ....

... The building was designed to stand free of the buildings round it, and as there is no conventional lightwell, the open space between it and its neighbours, from the second floor upwards is important. Split level terrace gardens at 1st floor level at the rear and 2nd floor level facing Bond Street bring light into the building on all sides, and particularly as originally conceived, to the double-height reception area, now offices and show rooms. The central lift stack, with two opposing secondary stairwells wrapped round it, occupies minimum space."

Michael Rosenauer was acknowledge for the way he integrated art, especially sculpture, into his architecture.  On a number of occasions he submitted designs that involved Henry Moore as a collaborator.  This building was one of them.  There are four Moore sculptures integrated into a screen around the building's terrace and visible from the street.  Moore said of them, " The fact that it is only a screen with space behind it, led me to carve it with a back as well as a front, and to pierce it, which gives an interesting penetration of light, and also from Bond Street makes it clear that it is a screen and not a solid part of the building."  Apparently, at one stage Moore, "... had the idea of trying to make the four components of the frieze revolve, but the building work was too advanced and the concept too expensive to carry out."