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January 29, 2006 - On Location at the Bradbury Building













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Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

The Bradbury Building

340 South Broadway

Los Angeles, California
 

As described by the folks at USC -

 

The Bradbury Building, built in 1893, is one of Southern California's most remarkable architectural achievements. 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 interior of the court is flooded with natural light. In the true spirit of Los Angles, it has been featured in many movies, from DOA in 1946 to Blade Runner in 1982.

 

Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa - Modern Architecture 1851-1945 (page 60) –

 

The unique work of an otherwise conservative career, this daring and unusual office building owes as much to the remarkable vision of Wyman's patron Louis Bradbury, a self-made mining tycoon, as it does to an autodidact architect's exceptional talent.

 

...the Bradbury Building is unique not only for its dramatically projecting stair and lift towers, but also for its glazed hydraulic elevators giving access to the various office floors. These constructions serve to animate the volume of the court movement; a lively effect compounded of light filtering through the stair landings and of the oscillation of the elevator cabins. By way of contrast, the exterior of the building is traditional, being built of a mixture of sandstone and dressed brickwork.

 

From the Los Angeles Downtown News -

 

Designed by a $5-a-week draftsman named George Wyman, who had neither an architecture degree nor experience, the $500,000 Bradbury has nonetheless caused generations to marvel at its Eclectic Victorian Pre-Modern design. The untrained architect took the job on advice from his dead brother via Ouija board, and was influenced by the 1887 best-selling book, Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy - a Victorian's view of what a futuristic building would look like in the year 2000. (It was featured in the film Blade Runner.) To add to the building's mystique, Wyman never again designed a building of significance, in Los Angeles or anywhere else.

 

Detailed history here - the Los Angeles Conservancy here - and see the notes at the bottom of the page on the films and such.  All photos, Thursday, January 26, 2006.

 

          Interior:

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

The Elevators:

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Charlie Chaplin in the Lobby –

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

And finally –

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, 26 January 2006

Films:

 

From "Seeing Stars"  -

 

In 1994's "WOLF," Jack Nicholson's character spends a lot of time at work inside the ornate office building of a New York publishing company. If those birdcage elevators look familiar, that's because the interiors for "WOLF" were really shot inside the inside the historic Bradbury Building (at 304 S. Broadway), in downtown Los Angeles.

This was also the atmospheric location where Harrison Ford fought the evil replicant in 1982's "BLADE RUNNER." The building's classic 1893 architecture was also used in "CHINATOWN" (1974).

In the original film noir 1950 classic "D.O.A.", the final shootout between Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) and the man who poisoned him, Halliday, takes place on the wrought-iron stairs on the top floor of the Bradbury Building.

 

Current Status:

 

From Cal Trade Report, Friday, January 27, 2006, this -

 

The Bradbury Building  has been sold to Hong Kong real estate mogul Goodwin Gaw for a reported $6 million.

 

The building - built in 1893 and famous for its cinematic lobby that's been featured in numerous films and television programs including Blade Runner and the Outer Limits - was purchased by the late developer Ira Yellin in 1989 and painstakingly restored to its former glory.

 

… Eric Bender, a vice president at Gaw's Downtown Properties Holdings, told the Los Angeles Downtown News that the firm is not planning new construction or renovation. "We think the building is a gem as it is," he said.
 
The building is about 90% occupied and talks are reportedly underway with a restaurant and nightclub about opening on the ground floor, which has more than 3,000 square feet.

 

It's worth a visit.

 

 

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 – lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70mm 1:35-4.5G ED

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

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Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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