The Bradbury Building is located in downtown Los Angeles, California. The five-story office building was built in 1893 and is best known for its ornate ironwork and skylit atrium. Los Angeles gold-mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury commissioned the building designed by Sumner Hunt and constructed by George Wyman. This is an excellent example of a multi-story building with a skylit inner court. The stairways, elevator cages, and balcony railings feature exquisite art nouveau ironwork. During the first half of the 19th century, iron bridges appeared, followed by steel-framed buildings in the second half of the century.
Bradbury Building’s aesthetic quality is largely derived from its luminous inner court. It is an early and excellent example of a break with facade architecture and acknowledging the unpleasantness of a busy city street. The architect has created an off-street leisurely and enriched space by treating the interior court as a facade, evading the hustle and bustle of Broadway and Third Street.
The late Lewis Bradbury was a gold-mining millionaire – he owned the Tajo mine in Sinaloa, Mexico – who became a real estate developer in the latter part of his life. His plans for a five-story building at Broadway and Third Street in Los Angeles, close to the Bunker Hill neighbourhood, began in 1892. Sumner Hunt, a local architect, was hired to design the building and sent in His plans, but Bradbury dismissed them as inadequate. After that, he hired George Wyman, another of Hunt’s draftsmen, to design the building. The speculation that Bradbury believed Wyman understood his vision better than Hunt has sparked some controversy over who should be considered the architect of the building. However, there is no concrete evidence that Wyman changed Hunt’s design. The architect, Wyman, had no formal education and was earning $5 per week from Hunt.
The building opened in 1893, about six months after Bradbury’s death in 1892, and was completed in 1894 at $500,000 (about $16,000,000 today), about three times the budget of $175,000. This location appears in many works of fiction and has been used for many movie and television shoots and music videos.