A+E Networks Headquarters

New York, New York

Recognizing the opportunity to stay where A+E Networks has called home for years, and to expand it, is representative of the significant shift most media companies have made to evolve and innovate to meet the rising demands of a digitally-based consumer.

When the adjacent building at 227 East 45th street became available, A+E Networks saw an opportunity to bring their three offices in Manhattan under one roof to create a headquarters that would bolster the network’s digital content production and marketing. Their long-time headquarters was already in need of a refresh, so with these stars aligned, Mancini worked with the network to creatively rethink the arrangement of the two spaces by combining them into a new 320,000-square-foot office and refurbished studio space. Mancini’s design focused on building opportunities for transparency, creativity, and collaboration to create the culture shift in the corporate community that would drive the network into the future of entertainment.

The design team started by completely evaluating A+E Networks’ business objectives, keeping in mind that the 12-month design and construction schedule had to be kept on track. A+E Networks was enthusiastic about having a space that felt open and celebrated light and the entertainment nature of their brand. By exposing structural elements and redesigning the buildings’ infrastructure, the design team created a fresh space that is more in line with what a 21st Century media company looks like.

Critical to this design was to create a space where employees could gather for meetings, informal events, collaboration, and recreation. Mancini designed “The Commons” on the ground floor to be a centralized space, adjacent to the new lobby, that is something the company didn’t have before. Through the precision demolition of a shared bearing wall, “The Commons” immediately convey’s A+E Networks’ value of employee transparency and its image as a major player in mainstream media. “The Commons” features informal seating for over 120 people, arranged within a three-story space that is surrounded by a second story mezzanine. A cafe sits behind a monumental, bleacher-style staircase with integrated seating that connects all three floors.

Above the mezzanine, the network’s full suite of conference amenities cantilever over the space, appearing to float overhead. The nine conference rooms were designed to range from large gatherings to more intimate meetings that foster collaboration and program development. The centralized location creates a destination, rather than just a meeting place.

The offices rise up the 15 floors above to house A+E Networks’ new family of brands and the departments that support them. The interiors are arranged to bring departments together but foster connection with the rest of the company’s employees. Perimeter offices are lined with glass walls. Keeping the Southern perimeters of each floor as open as possible and incorporating low workstations allows daylight to penetrate deep into each floor, creating a vibrant workplace that reinforces A+E Networks as an evolving brand.

Mancini seized the architectural moment created where the two buildings joined to create opportunities for informal gatherings on each floor of the workspace. Since the levels of each building don’t precisely align, the team integrated staircases that became smaller versions of “The Commons’” bleacher-style seating and featured high-top tables for collaboration or seating areas where employees could meet. These zones not only improve circulation but provide centralized spaces where departments could meet or brainstorm the next great TV show.

In addition to the new office space, the renovation involved the upgrade of their existing digital production studios and technical facilities—including 21 edit rooms, a technical operations center, and audio and production control rooms—bringing the space up to date with the current demand for integrated technology that helps the network produce, market, and release their content. The building’s mechanical and infrastructure systems were also upgraded as part of the renovation.