This is a beautiful, well-known landmark in downtown Los Angeles. The building is lovely and worth a visit for itself, especially the inside, and visitors are free to roam the lobby and stairs, but not go up higher. It has a tall, central atrium-like lobby that looks all the way to the glass ceiling at the top, lots of intricate wrought iron balconies and railings, old lifts/elevators, nice brickwork, etc.
It is also well know for being in several films, and probably most famously for the interior of J.F. Sebastian's apartment building in Blade Runner. It is instantly recognizable from that film.
A visit here could easily make you fee l like you've been transported into one of those wonderfully confusing M.C. Escher drawings of impossible staircases. The Bradbury Building would be easy to pass by if it were not for what has been described as "L.A.'s greatest interior". The relatively plain and pedestrian brick exterior belies the spectacular soaring atrium within.
Designed in 1893 by George Wyman, not an architect but rather a draftsman for the City of Los Angeles, the five story building is a marvel of brick, terra cotta, oak, and wrought and cast iron. The high level of ornamentation and detail is artfully displayed against the plain brick of the interior wall surfaces and balanced by the sky-lit openness of the atrium.
Visionary designers have always put the technology of the day on display and Wyman, too, was not bashful about flaunting his "high-tech". This is exemplified by the pair of mirror imaged open-cage elevators. Proudly on display are the all the cables, pulleys, counterweights and motors of the marvelous 112 year old mechanisms.
The interior is a perennial favorite for Hollywood's movies and television productions including Blade Runner, Chinatown, and City of Angels. The actual offices provide much more mundane municipal services including the State Treasure's L.A. office.
Now, I don't know about you but I love watching movies and I kep seeing this great building on the screen. You know the one, all that wrought iron on balconies around a central atrium with even more wrought iron surrounding the elevator. It was most obvious in Blade Runner.
A few years ago, I found out that it's a real place, The Bradbury Building. As I was in LA, I thought that I would take a little time to find it and see the it for myself.
You aren't allowed to visit any of the upper floors and you are restricted to the first (ground floor) and the lower stair between the first and second floors. Nevertheless, you can get some great views and picture.
The Building was constructed in 1893 and was, in fact, inspired by an 1880 science fiction story (weird, huh?). Lewis Bradbury was a mining millionaire turned real estate developer and he wanted the buiding to be a monument to himself. It was designed by a draftsman named George Wyman, who worked for Bradbuty and it is strange that he had little or no architectural experience before he designed the building.
There is nothing about the brown brick and sandstone facade that suggests the wonders within.
The wrought iron was made in France, the walls are pale brick and the floors are Mexican tile with Belgian marble used in the staircases.
The court is flooded with true daylight from the glass roof five stories above.
Visiting is free but there is a security guard who will remind you that this is still a working building and request you to respect the restrictions about not roaming beyond the posted limits.