The Atrium of the Bradbury Building

The Atrium of the Bradbury Building

This 1893 Italian Renaissance-style building was used as a set in the movie Blade Runner, but I think it looks better here, especially since it was renovated in 1991.

The word I would use to describe the atrium is “atmospheric.” The big space has grandeur. The wrought-iron ornament gives it texture. The wood and stone give it richness of color. The cage elevators in their open shafts give it a steampunk feeling.

I love atmosphere. It’s one of the great things about novels by Victor Hugo. Romantic art in general specialized in it, with all those poems and paintings about ruined churches. It is frequently spooky, but I don’t think it has to be. (It isn’t in this picture.) At some point I hope to write more about atmosphere and romanticism.

You can see (and buy) more photos of great buildings at

Please leave a comment, with a link if possible, about your favorite example of atmosphere.

4 thoughts on “The Atrium of the Bradbury Building

  1. Of all the settings that have atmosphere, one of my favorites is the Neo-Renaissance style theater, many of which still grace us with their presence today. The Orpheum Theater in my hometown of Springfield, IL was a prime example, as is the present-day Fox Theater in St. Louis. The lavish interiors of these structures, with their crystal chandeliers, elaborately detailled balconies, sumptuous curtains and flooring, etc., convey an elegance that is missing from the modern theater building.
    Another of my favorite architectural accomplishments are the Carnegie libraries that, like the theater palaces, were constructed nationwide. The classical design of these edifices, with their imposing columns, ornate cornices, and elevated main floor, gives them what I call “character”. There was a climate of dignity, a sort of reverence within the surroundings, of the former Lincoln Library in Springfield (replaced by a modern building in 1974).
    Photos of the Fox and Orpheum theaters can be found at cinematreasures.
    org, and a picture of Lincoln Library appears in a book called Leviathan Libraries.

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