Bradbury Building, built in 1893 is considered as one of the
finest architectural masterpieces in Southern California.
The dramatic central court made of glazed brick walls,
ornamental cast iron made in France, tiling, stairs of
Belgian marble and polished wood railings is flooded in the
light from the huge skylight five stories above.
The history is as dramatic as the architecture itself. Lewis
Bradbury was a mining millionaire turned real estate
developer when, in 1892, he decided to construct a five
story building at Third and Broadway. The plans developed by
a well known architect, Sumner Hunt disappointed Mr.
Bradbury who wanted something unique.
Believing in a potential of an obscure draftsman, he asked
32-year old George Wyman to create a design. At first, Wyman
declined the offer, but after debating the matter, he
decided to get an advice from his brother, who was
then...dead for six years. The forerunner of the quija board
wrote down a "spirit" message that read: "Take Bradbury
Building. It will make you famous".
Encouraged by the message "from beyond" Wyman decided to
design the building based on Edward Bellamy's science
fiction story "Looking Backward" published in 1887, which
described a utopian civilization in the year 2000. In the
book, one of the author's imagined visions resembles the
interior of the Bradbury building:
"A vast hall 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 were frescoed in mellow tints, to soften without
absorbing the light which flooded the interior."
Los Angeles developer and former owner, Ira Yellin hired architect
Brenda Levin to renovate the building. The two year renovations also
brought the building up to building codes. Elements such as
alabaster lighting sconces, fire exit lights and sprinkler system
and hardware to meet ADA requirements were added. $2.4 million
was invested to bring the building up to California's earthquake
codes by anchoring the exterior walls at each floor level. Concrete
frames behind the storefront piers and block shear walls were placed
between the basement and second floors for stiffness. Decorative
sandstone facade elements were also secured from behind.
Bradbury is also certified as National Historic Landmark. Over the
century old Bradbury still offers modern office environment to its
Tenants and a convenient walking distance location near the major
cultural and business centers.
CHARLIE CHAPLIN SCULPTURE AT
The building offers
a photo opportunity next to the sculpture of the comedian actor Charlie
Chaplin in the main lobby. The sculpture was created by a Russian
sculptor living in New York, Emmanuil Snitkovsky in 1989. The sculpture
represents a life-size Charlie Chaplin in his famous role "The Little
Trump". It was exhibited as part of a tribute back then to the actor's
100th birthday and organized by the Hollywood Arts Council.
was the first of a series of sculptures to be grouped on "The Bench of
Comedians" proposed in the courtyard of the Roosevelt Hotel in
Hollywood. Because of the recent extensive renovations of the
hotel, a new home for the sculpture has now been found here at the
Bradbury building. Charlie Chaplin was once a highlight in this
neighborhood, which in the early 1920's was a "walk of fame" as
Hollywood is today. In 1931, the most splendid Los Angeles Theatre,
built to resemble the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles in
Paris on 615 S. Broadway opened its doors for the first time with the
gala premiere of the movie "City Lights" with Charlie Chaplin in his
masterpiece role. A United Artists Theater built in 1927 was
financed by the original partners of United Artists: Mary Pickford,
Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin who are pictured in the auditorium
being the largest historic theatre district in the United States with
other grandiose movie houses of the early 20th Century, such as Million
Dollar Theatre and Orpheum Theatre - the oldest in the world, marked
Charlie Chaplin as one of the most recognized stars of the silent movie