The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark in downtown Los Angeles and one of Southern California’s most remarkable architectural achievements. Built in 1893, its plan was commissioned by real estate and mining entrepreneur Louis L. Bradbury who decided to build it just a few blocks from his home on fashionable Bunker Hill and not far from the base of Angels Flight.
After rejecting a plan submitted by Sumner P. Hunt, Bradbury approached junior draftsman George Wyman. Wyman is said to have accepted the commission after consulting a Ouija board. Wyman was influenced by Edward Bellamy’s 1887 book that described a utopian civilization in the year 2000. The typical office building was described as being a “vast hall of light received not alone by the windows, but from a dome overhead.”
The building features an Italian Renaissance Revival-style exterior facade of brown brick, sandstone, and panels of terra-cotta details, in the “commercial Romanesque Revival” that was the current idiom in East Coast American cities. But the magnificence of the building is the interior: reached through the entrance, with its low ceiling and minimal light, it opens into a bright naturally lit great center court.
The five-story central court features glazed brick, ornamental cast iron, tiling, rich marble, and polished wood, capped by a skylight that allows the court to be flooded with natural rather than artificial light, creating ever-changing shadows and accents during the day. Cage elevators surrounded by wrought-iron grill work go up to the fifth floor. Geometric patterned staircases and wrought-iron railings are used abundantly throughout. The wrought-iron was created in France and displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair before being installed in the building. Freestanding mail-chutes also feature ironwork.
In the true spirit of Los Angles, it has been featured in many movies and TV series. The building has been featured in many films like “Blade Runner,” “Double Indemnity,” “Marlowe,” “D.O.A.,” “Chinatown,” “Wolf,” and “Lethal Weapon 4” and TV shows “City of Angels,” “The Outer Limits,” and “Banyon.”
When exiting the Bradbury Building, be sure to look for the Victor Clothing Co. mural on the opposite side of 3rd Street. It shows Anthony Quinn cavorting for his favorite clothing line.
WHAT: The Bradbury Building
WHEN: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday | Closed Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: 304 Broadway | Los Angeles, CA 90013
CONTACT INFO: (213) 626-1893
SOCIAL MEDIA: Yelp
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