Bradbury Building

304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California


Bradbury Building

Historic American Buildings Survey Jack E. Boucher, Photographer October 2, 1960 NORTHWEST CORNER ELEVATION

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


The Bradbury Building, built in 1893, is a fine example of multi-story structure designed around an inner glazed court, with splendid art nouveau iron work in open stairways, open elevator cages and balcony rails. It is a remnant of the Cast Iron Age, which began with the iron bridges in the early half of the 19th century and ended in the last decade of the century when steel framing took over. It is a lineal descendant of Labrouste's 1858 Bibliotheque Nationale and Eiffel's 1876 Bon Marche' department store, with their exposed iron stairways which were a part of the architectural design, and their glazed roofs. (The roots of iron framing and glazed roofs are, of course, much deeper than the middle of the 19th century.) The aesthetic quality of the Bradbury Building is largely derived from the superb environment of an inner court flooded with light. It is an early and excellent example of a break with facade architecture and the acknowledgment of the unpleasantness of a busy city street. By treating the inner court as facades, the architect has supplied an off-street leisurely and enriched space which denies the bustle of Broadway and Third Street. The building is a mecca for architectural students, and because of its dramatic force it is frequently used as a set for motion picture and television films. It is the one pure delight in the old Downtown core. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS CA-334)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 14, 1971
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Art Nouveau
Area of significance
Levels of significance
National; Local
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • December 22, 2015: New photos from Eric Polk