An Architectural Comparison

The Bradbury Exterior

I flew to Los Angeles recently, and during my visit I bore witness to many things: overpopulation, smog, urban sprawl, pollution, overpriced Hervé Villechaize-sized studio apartments and traffic… lots of traffic.

So, one afternoon while I’m stuck in traffic, I decide I want to see something to take me away from this concrete jungle…

The Bradbury Interior

Enter The Bradbury Building.  Perhaps best known from the 1982 Harrison Ford film, Blade Runner (to see stills from the film, click here), The Bradbury has earned the reputation as one of the most striking architectural marvels in the entire world.  Commissioned in 1889 by silver mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury, George Herbert Wyman (who initially turned down Bradbury’s offer) designed this fascinating feat of aesthetic genius. While the Italian Renaissance-style exterior of The Bradbury Building is admittedly uninteresting and typical (click here to see the exterior), it is the jaw-dropping detail and grandeur of the interior that took my breath away. With its intricate wrought-iron grillwork, ornamental cast iron, tiling, rich marble and polished wood, the interior of The Bradbury showcases the lost art of old world craftsmanship (to see the wrought-iron stairways, click here). Construction was completed in 1893, with a final cost at well over $500,000.

Seeing The Bradbury Building reminded me of another feat of superior craftsmanship…

The Ferguson Mansion

Enter The Ferguson Mansion. Eight years after the completion of The Bradbury, 2500 miles away to the east, construction on The Ferguson Mansion begins. Designed by the same firm responsible for designing the famous Seelbach Hotel, this beautiful structure that was once home to the Ferguson Family, now houses The Filson Historical Society. Like The Bradbury, The Ferguson Mansion is a relic of the lost art of old-world craftsmanship, featuring extraordinary detail in everything from the classicism of the Beaux-Arts style façade to the Renaissance Revival Caen fireplace in the lobby. Construction was completed in 1905, with a final cost of $100,000.

I highly recommend seeing both buildings IN PERSON.  You don’t have be an architectural nut to appreciate the work. I promise.

Filson Historical

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