Walking into the unassuming building across from the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, you would never guess what visual spectacle was waiting inside.
It was mind blowing! What magnificent looking futuristic architecture!
The history of the building is as bizarre as its remarkable interior. Lewis L. Bradbury made his millions by gold mining in Mexico and later became a real estate developer. Bradbury commissioned architect, Sumner Hunt to design the building but didn’t care for his completed designs so he hired Hunt’s inexperienced draftsman, George Wyman to build it. Wyman who had no formal training as an architect took the job only because of a message received from his dead brother urging him to take it.
Also, the building design was based on a science fiction novel called “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy. Ironically, the building opened in 1893, months after Bradbury’s death in 1892.
Standing in the middle of the beautifully tiled floor looking up, you are bathed in the most beautifully peach tinted light. The glass ceiling releases natural light which reflects off of the unglazed pink and yellow bricks.
The wrought ironwork is surprisingly delicate and was made in France for the Columbia Exposition also known as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.
It’s strangely antique and futuristic looking at the same time and has been used as a set for numerous films and television shows.
I really, really wanted to ride that elevator though!
It’s rare that a building can make you feel like you’re encased in a time capsule from the past – yet at the same time make you feel as if you’re looking at a vision of the future. The unique and fascinating architecture of the Bradbury Building has that effect.
At first, I was just grateful to be walking out of the hot afternoon sun and into cooler interior temperatures. But another thing unique about the place is that the glass ceiling still gives you the sense of being outdoors; even as you’re surrounded by staircases and elevators winding up the five stories of office rooms.
While there have been numerous television shows and films that have used the location, the one favorite that has always stuck in my mind is Blade Runner. So I was very glad to see that there was a written description posted on the premises detailing the time the Bradbury Building was used for that science fiction classic. Definitely worth checking out!