CA -- Los Angeles -- Bradbury Building:
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- BRADBB_090801_12.JPG: Mining Tycoon L. Bradbury Makes his Mark:
His name endures in the eponymous town of wealth and horseflesh set against the San Gabriel Mountains, but mining tycoon Louis Bradbury made his loveliest mark on Southern California with the magnificent architectural gem that also bears his name -- The Bradbury Building, known affectionately as "The Bradbury."
One critic has called the space "a fairytale of mathematics," from its red sandstone exterior to its brick and iron-lace inner spaces. It is one of Los Angeles' truly breathtaking buildings, its interior as visually exciting for visitors and moviemakers now as it was a century ago -- which is exactly what Bradbury envisioned, a building that would still be modern a hundred years after its cornerstone was laid.
Bradbury, son of a wealthy Maine family, came west in the 1850s, striking it rich in the Mexican gold mines of Matzatlan. At 45, he followed the pattern of other ambitious Yankee newcomers, and married Simona Martinez, a Mazatlan heiress 20 years his junior.
After shuttling up and down California, the couple settled in Los Angeles, hoping the climate would improve Bradbury's chronic asthma. Their "country place" was a 2,750-acre ranch, the core of a town that would eventually be named Bradbury, and their city home was a 50-room showplace on Bunker Hill.
It was from his Bunker Hill house that, in 1891, Bradbury fancied a unique office building he could come [???] to, and which would bear his name.
The man he commissioned for the project was Sumner P. Hunt, a leading Southland architect who had already designed homes and mansions. But Hunt's design left Bradbury uninspired, and he offered the job to a young, $5-a-week draftsman in the architect's office.
- BRADBB_090801_15.JPG: It Will Make You Famous:
George Herbert Wyman at first judged it unethical to accept because he worked for Hunt. But while playing with a Ouija board, he said he received a message from his dead brother, Mark: "Take the Bradbury assignment. It will make you famous."
So he undertook the project, with that assist from the occult and inspiration from a book, "Looking Backward," by Edward Bellamy. The book, which eventually became of cult classic, imagined as 21st-century world of cooperative housing and workspaces organized around crystal courts.
Wyman turned that inspiration into the focal point of the building's interior, a vertical courtyard bathes in the Southern California sunlight filtering through a massive glass roof.
Wyman, who, like Frank Lloyd Wright, had no academic credentials as an architect, employed the unusually narrow lot to his advantage. Throughout the Bradbury's five stories are lavish displays of Italian marble and Mexican floor tiles, two delicate water-powered bird-cage elevators, 288 radiators, 50 fireplaces, 215 wash basins, all as decorative as they were functional -- and the largest plate glass windows in Los Angeles. The interior's delicate foliate grillwork was made in France and was first displayed at Chicago's World Fair before being installed.
Bradbury never saw his building completed. More than a year before it opened in January 1894, he died. It had cost him $500,000, more than twice what he had budgeted for.
Los Angeles cop Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner, played by Harrison Ford, specializes in terminating replicants, 21st-century androids, in the 1982 movie "Blade Runner." [The final battle in the film takes place in the Bradbury.]
- BRADBB_090801_19.JPG: Sandstone to Celluloid:
Today, the Bradbury Building, home to corporations, real estate investment firms and the Los Angeles police department's internal affairs division, is no stranger to fictional law enforcement; the Bradbury's role in movies had made it familiar to people who have never crossed its threshold.
The unexpected death of its namesake and the otherwise undistinguished designs of its creator have not diminished the Bradbury Building's reputation, and as one of the area's most popular film settings, it seems assured of immortality as downtown Los Angeles' most intriguing landmark.
Purchased in 1989, and meticulously restored in 1991-92, with the help and encouragement of the Community Redevelopment Agency, by lawyer-turned-developer, Ira Yellin, the Bradbury Building has once again become one of the city's most distinguished office buildings. The Bradbury Building was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior in 1977.
After publishing executive Will Randall, played by Actor Jack Nicholson, is bitten by a wolf, his life begins to change. [His office is in the building.]
- Wikipedia Description: Bradbury Building
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark in Los Angeles, California. The building was built in 1893 and is located at 304 South Broadway (3rd and Broadway) in downtown Los Angeles.
The building was commissioned by its namesake Lewis Bradbury, a Tajo silver mining millionaire who had become a real estate developer in the later part of his life. His plan (in 1892) was to have a five story building constructed at Third Street and Broadway in Los Angeles, close to the Bunker Hill neighborhood.
A local architect, Sumner Hunt, was first hired to complete a design for the building but Bradbury ruled against constructing his plans which he did not view as adequately matching the grandeur of his vision.
Bradbury then hired George Wyman, one of Hunt's draftsmen, to design the building.
Wyman at first refused the offer to design the building. However Wyman supposedly had a ghostly talk with his dead brother Mark Wyman (who had been dead for six years) while using a planchette board with his wife. The ghostly message that came through supposedly said "Mark Wyman / take the / Bradbury building / and you will be / successful" with the word "successful" written upside down. After the episode, Wyman took the job and is now regarded as the architect of the Bradbury Building. Wyman's grandson, the science fiction publisher Forrest J. Ackerman, owned the original of this document until his death. Coincidentally, Ackerman was a close friend of science fiction author Ray Bradbury.
Wyman was especially influenced in the construction of the building by Edward Bellamy's book Looking Backward (published in 1887) which described a utopian society in the year 2000. In the book, the average commercial building was described as a "vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above ... The walls and ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior." This description greatly influenced the Bradbury Building.
A restoration and seismic retrofitting by developer Ira Yellin and project architect Brenda Levin Associates was undertaken in 1991. As part of the restoration, a storage area at the south end of the building was converted to a new rear entrance portico, connecting the building more directly to Biddy Mason Park and the adjacent Broadway Spring Center parking garage. The building's lighting system was also redesigned, bringing in alabaster wall sconces from Spain.
There was a fire there in 1947.
The building itself features an Italian Renaissance-style exterior facade of brown brick, sandstone and panels of terra cotta details, in the "commercial Romanesque" that was the current idiom in East Coast American cities. But the magnificence of the building is the interior that is reached through the entrance, with its low ceiling and minimal light, that opens into a bright naturally lit great center court.
Robert Forster, star of the TV series Banyon that used the building for his office, described it as "one of the great interiors of L.A. Outside it doesn't look like much, but when you walk inside, suddenly you're back a hundred and twenty years."
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. The elevators in the building are also famous for their being cage elevators surrounded by wrought-iron grillwork rather than masonry. They go up to the fifth floor.
The entire main building features geometric patterned staircases at all ends. The building is known for its large use of ornately designed wrought-iron railings which are supposed to give the illusion of hanging vegetation and are found throughout the building. This wrought-iron was executed in France and displayed at the Chicago World's Fair before being installed in the building. Freestanding mail-chutes are also made out of ironwork.
The walls are made of pale glazed brick, the marble used in the staircase was imported from Belgium, and the floors are composed of Mexican tile.
During construction, an active spring was found beneath the work-site, which threatened to shut down work on the building by weakening the foundation. However, Mr. Bradbury was very committed to the project, believing it to be the greatest monument possible to his memory; he spared no expense and imported massive steel rails from Europe in order to bolster the building and allow its construction.
The initial estimate for building the building was $175,000. When it was completed it had cost over $500,000, a ridiculously large amount for those times. (Using the GDP Deflator method, this translates to $11,238,765.12 in 2008 dollars.)
In a sad twist of fate, Lewis Bradbury died months before the building opened in 1893 although it stands as a testament to his and George Wyman's vision. With all its international fame it most surely lives up to his dream. It is Wyman's most acclaimed building.
The building has operated as an office building for most of its history. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Today the building serves as headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs division and other government agencies. Several of the offices are rented out to private concerns including Red Line Tours. The retail spaces on the first floor currently house Ross Cutlery, a Subway sandwich restaurant, a Sprint cell phone store, and a real estate sales office for loft conversions in other nearby historic buildings.
The building was prominently used in the film Blade Runner. It has also been featured in the 1944 Billy Wilder film classic Double Indemnity, the 1950 film noir classic D.O.A., the 1951 Joseph Losey remake of M, the film Wolf starring Jack Nicholson, the "Demon with a Glass Hand" episode of the TV series The Outer Limits, the Season Six episodes (1963-64) of the TV series "77 Sunset Strip" where Stuart "Stu" Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the only remaining recurring cast member) had his office, the TV series Banyon, the Charles Bronson movie Murphy's Law, the Michael Douglas and Demi Moore vehicle Disclosure, music videos from the 1980s by Heart, Janet Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire and Genesis, and a Pontiac Pursuit commercial. The Bradbury has recently been seen in the show Pushing Daisies, which debuted in fall 2007. The building also serves as the headquarters for the Marvel Comics team The Order.
The famed 5-storey atrium also substituted for the interior of the seedy skid-row hotel depicted in the climax of the Jack Lemmon comedy Good Neighbor Sam (1964), supposedly set in San Francisco but filmed, save for some establishing shots and rear-projection footage, entirely in Los Angeles.
The building is also seen with the name "Gotham Towers" in the TV series Quantum Leap in the last episode of the first season, "Play it again, Seymour."
The building was featured in the photography on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 box.
The building was featured in the movie "(500) Days of Summer" in the last scenes as the location of an architectural firm.
Tenants and past usage:
From 2001 to 2003 A+D Museum: Los Angeles had its home in the building; generously donated by Ira Yellin.
Appearance in popular media:
The Bradbury Building has been prominently featured as the setting in a wide range of films and television programs, particularly in the science fiction genre. Most notably, the film is the setting of the climactic rooftop scene of the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner, as well as the set of the character J.F. Sebastien's apartment in which much of the film's story unfolds. In addition to Blade Runner, the Bradbury was featured in Chinatown, D.O.A., Double Indemnity, Lethal Weapon 4, 500 Days of Summer, Marlowe, and Wolf, as well as The Indestructible Man and The Night Strangler.
The building can also be seen in at least one episode of each of the following television series: Banyon, City of Angels, Mission: Impossible, and The Outer Limits ("Demon with a Glass Hand"), as well as Pushing Daisies ("Ned and Chuck's Apartment") and Quantum ("Play It Again, Seymour").
The personal computer game SimCity 3000 shows the building as one of many being built on the so called Dense Commercial zones.
The Bradbury has frequently been alluded to in popular literature, including: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, in which the protagonist makes reference to Philip Marlowe, who will "feel homesick for the lacework balconies of the Bradbury Building," the Star Trek novel The Case of the Colonist's Corpse: A Sam Cogley Mystery, in which the novel's main character works out of the Bradbury Building four hundred years into the future, The Man With The Golden Torc by Simon R. Green, and The World Of Tiers by Philip Jose Farmer.
Finally, both DC Comics and Marvel Comics (which maintains offices in the real Bradbury Building) have both published series based on characters that work out of the historic land mark. In the Marvel Universe, the superhero team The Order is headquartered there. In the DC universe, the Human Target runs his private investigation agency out of the building.
The interior can be seen online in the music video for the Pointer Sisters song "He's So Shy".
The building is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors are welcome daily and greeted by a government worker who provides historical facts and information about the building. Visitors are allowed up to the first landing but not past it. Brochures and tours are also available. It is close to three other downtown Los Angeles Landmarks: the Grand Central Market and the Million Dollar Theater (across the street) and Angels Flight (two blocks away). The building is accessible from the Los Angeles MTA Red Line via the Civic Center exit, which is three blocks away.
- Atlas Obscura Description: Bradbury Building
Los Angeles, California
The legendary building that needed ghostly approval before being built.
Mining mogul Lewis L. Bradbury had a grandiose vision for a 5-story building in the heart of Los Angeles, and he was convinced only one man could build it for him.
Reluctant draftsman George Wyman wanted no part of the project, and remained stubborn until conferring with his dead brother via planchette board. Despite being six feet under for just as many years, Mark Wyman’s message was clear- the job would bring success. So George Wyman acquiesced, and the Bradbury Building came into being.
Heavily influenced by the utopian sci-fi novel “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy, the vast structure is magnificent in its intricacies. The outside isn’t overly inviting, but once inside, you enter a gorgeous center courtyard filled with natural light streaming in from a skylight. Caged elevators, surrounded by ornate wrought iron used abundantly on the many staircases cast shadows around the courtyard. Used as a set for numerous films, notably Blade Runner, the lacework balconies appear in all sorts of popular culture venues, influencing film, TV, comic books, music videos and video game designs.
The strongest bond that the Bradbury Building has in popular culture remains with Science Fiction. Not only was its design inspired by a sci-fi novel and its courtyard the ideal setting for films of the genre, Wyman’s grandson was science fiction publisher Forrest J. Ackerman. It is a common misconception that the building was named after Ray Bradbury, Ackerman’s close friend and famed sci-fi author, but the author sharing a name with the founder is merely a coincidence.
The above was from https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bradbury-building
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