Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Bradbury Building

Ever read the book, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" written by Phillip K. Dick? If the title doesn't ring a bell, most likely you have watched the film adaption known as "Blade Runner." The plot revolves around Rick Deckard played by a young Harrison Ford, his job is to hunt and kill androids. While the film certainly emphasized more action over storyline, the concept of a futuristic nihilistic Los Angeles was spot on. Beatnik writer Jack Kerouac once mentioned that Los Angeles can be one of the most cruel towns in America. I think what Kerouac was referring to was the harsh reality of disconnection in Los Angeles.

While LA has certainly lots to offer, the city acts as a microcosm that is composed of disparate environments that make up the birth and sustaining of varied cultures. It's no wonder that David Lynch and his genre of film noir draws much inspiration from Los Angeles. And Downtown Los Angeles seems to represent that eeriness all too well.

When Blade Runner hit the theaters in 1982, audiences the world over were presented a cold clinical view of the future. The Bradbury building was used prominently as the home of the doctor who invented the androids. Walking inside the building is open to the public but you must arrange an appointment in order to take an official tour. Current residents of the Bradbury comprise of architecture firms and the legal department of the L.A.P.D.

Here are some interesting factoids about The Bradbury.

  • Built by Lewis Bradbury in 1893
  • George Wyman was tapped to design the building. He initially refused but later agreed after experiencing a supposed ghostly conversation with his deceased older brother, Mark Wyman.
  • Wyman's grandson was science fiction publisher Forrest J. Ackerman, who also happened to be close friends with science fiction writer Ray Bradbury
  • Wyman was influenced by Edward Bellamy's book "Looking Backward" (published in 1887) which described a Utopian society in the year 2000. Heavy emphasis of natural lighting in spaces explains the interior atrium.

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