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A Great Los Angeles Landmark: The Bradbury Building

Jan 11, 2023 | Architect, Architecture, Custom Lighting, Featured Professional, Featured Projects, LED Lighting, Lighting, Los Angeles

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Let’s face it – Los Angeles is the land where everyone has a story to tell. Even some of the beautiful old structures known as Los Angeles landmarks have their stories. And like their human counterparts, many of these Los Angeles landmarks have appeared in movies. 

The Bradbury Building is one such Los Angeles landmark, located at 304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California 90013. It was built in 1893 and designed by architect Sumner Hunt and built by George Wyman. The Bradbury Building is a five-story office building with an exterior of brown brick, sandstone, and terracotta detail, which could be a building’s equivalent of sunglasses worn by human movie stars not to be recognized.

The Bradbury Building’s architectural style is a blend of Italian Renaissance Revival and Romanesque Revival, typical for commercial office buildings. The ‘it’ factor was the building’s interior. The interior is described as “a magical light-filled Victorian court that rises almost fifty feet with open cage elevators, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings” by the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The Bradbury Building is the most prominent architectural movie star of Los Angeles, mainly because of its chameleon-like quality. The building can be modern or period; it fills all sorts of categories, especially with all the ironwork and open balconies. 

The Bradbury Building is named after Lewis Bradbury, a millionaire who earned his wealth from gold mining. The story is that Mr. Bradbury wanted to build a building that would bear his name. He hired prominent architect Sumner Hunt but disliked all his designs. By chance, Mr. B noticed a young draftsman who worked for the architect George Wyman and had given him the job of designing a large half-million-dollar commercial office building. He was completely unqualified, but he did the job, and the beautiful building is still working in movies and is a significant tourist attraction.

On July 14, 1971, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) added the Bradbury Building to their list. On May 5, 1977, the National Historic Landmark (NHP), the Bradbury Building, was again honored.

The Bradbury Building, also designated as a landmark by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, is the oldest commercial downtown and a treasured Los Angeles landmark. 

That’s a Hollywood-type story, wouldn’t you agree?

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Photo Credit: Eater LA


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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting