In downtown LA, not far from the Arts District, stands the landmark Bradbury Building. Made famous by the noir classic, Blade Runner, it’s a must see for movie fans as well as architecture lovers.
“Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building is a local historic landmark whose architectural purity had been threatened by a sense of safety code modifications at the time of the Blade Runner shoot; in fact, the structure had fallen into a serious state of disrepair (however it was completely renovated in the early 1990s).
Commissioned by millionaire Lewis Bradbury, it was designed by George Wyman (who had been inspired by Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, an early utopia novel set in the year 2000 and featuring descriptions of numerous futuristic commercial buildings.) Editor’s note: Take a look at Julius Shulman’s black and white photograph of the Bradbury Building from its upper levels. Unfortunately, the general public isn’t allowed up there. It is 3/4 way down this post: Shulman Inspired, California Desired
Inside the building, the Blade Runner crew chose to stage scenes featuring the buildings’ geometrically patterned stairways, wrought-iron railings and open-cage elevators (still functioning today) by filming on the interior ground floor, top floor, central court, lobby, elevators and stairways.
The interior of the Bradbury Building was then “dirtied down” by adding various amounts of trash, smoke, revolving xenon spotlights, dripping water, and mannequins. A false wall and door were also erected before one of Bradbury’s offices to stand in for the entrance to Sebastian’s apartment.”*
(As reads the sign in the Bradbury Building. The text is excerpted from Future Noir, The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon).