Dingbat 2.0 Competition

Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment as Projection of a Metropolis is the culmination of a multi-year project by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design to raise critical debate around Los Angeles’ vernacular housing and its repercussions for the city, and for urban development across the globe. In 2010, the Forum focused on the dingbat apartment and the larger issue of an aging vernacular modern housing stock within the contemporary city. Through an international design competition, exhibition, and series of panel discussions, the Forum engaged architects, historians, critics, planners, and urbanists to discuss the past, present, and future of the dingbat. The topic resonated with the design community and the general public in Los Angeles and beyond, who were eager to debate a building type so iconic and ubiquitous within Los Angeles, yet rarely discussed outside the issues of aesthetics and taste.

Dingbat 2.0 Competition Jury:           
-Barbara Bestor, Principal, Bestor Architecture & Author, Bohemian Modern,/ Chair, Graduate School of Architecture at Woodbury University -John Chase / Author / Urban Designer, City of West Hollywood
-Teddy Cruz / Principal, Estudio Teddy Cruz, San Diego / Associate Professor, UCSD, Visual Arts Department
-Dana Cuff / Director cityLAB – UCLA/AUD
-Neil Denari / Principal, NMDA, Los Angeles / Professor, UCLA/AUD
-Joshua Prince-Ramus /Principal, REX, New York

Dingbat as Urban Typology Discussion Panelists:
-John Chase -Alan Loomis, Principal Urban Designer, City of Glendale and Delirious L.A. founder -Roger Sherman,  Principal of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design,  and Co-Director at cityLAB -Mott Smith, Principal of Civic Enterprise Development

Dingbat as Cultural Icon Discussion Panelists:
-Barbara Bestor -Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic -Mimi Zeiger, Editor, Loud Paper Architectural Zine and Blog -Alan Hess, Architecture Critic & Author of numerous books, including Palm Springs Weekend and Googie Redux:Ultramodern Roadside Architecture

Selected Projects from the Dingbat 2.0 Competition

Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design
Spring, 2010 

Microparcelization, by Footprint: Carmen Cham, James Black & Tyler Goss [First Place]

A portion of the Dingbat 2.0 publication addresses the future of the dingbat and its influence on the identity of the city of Los Angeles. The winning entries from the LA Forum’s Dingbat 2.0 competition served as provocation for the continued influence of the dingbat. Images and text from these projects, along with analysis, jury deliberations and panel discussions, reveal the far-reaching and potentially long-lasting complex role of the dingbat in the city.

The Flip, Caroline Filice Smith [Shared Third Place]

While the subject of the publication is understood to be quintessentially “L.A.”, the competition jury and panel discussions revolving around the competition will link this typology to larger cultural and developmental patterns so as to question the ways in which specific housing types work to define the identity of any contemporary city.

LAMobility, Jonathan Kleinhample

Dingbat 2.0 Exhibition 

WUHO Gallery, Hollywood, Summer, 2010

In the summer of 2010 the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design presented the Dingbat 2.0 Exhibition, featuring winning and selected entries from the recently completed Dingbat 2.0 Housing Competition, which challenged architects and designers to reconsider Los Angeles’ ubiquitous ‘dingbat’ apartment building for the 21st century. Historic documentation of existing dingbat apartment buildings was featured in the exhibition, including images from the 1998 film Slums of Beverly Hills and work by artist Judy Fiskin, from her series Dingbat, 1982-83.

Download the exhibition Gallery Guide PDF to view the competition winners as well as competition jury commentary.

The Dingbat 2.0 Project was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the Woodbury University School of Architecture, and the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. Archinect was the media sponsor for the competition, and printing for the exhibition was generously provided by Ford Graphics. The Dingbat 2.0 publication was also funded by a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.

Field Guide to Dingbats
[2010 version]

“Field Guide to Dingbats” is a section of the Dingbat 2.0 Publication (April 2016), and documents elements of dingbats, identifies dingbats by types, and looks at dingbat neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
The original “Field Guide to Dingbats” was created by the LA Forum as a reference for the 2010 Dingbat 2.0 Competition. The original Field Guide has several small articles and references regarding Dingbat apartment buildings, as well as a chapter from John Chase's Book Glitter Stucco & Dumpster Diving, which covers the history and types of 'stucco box' apartments that are synonymous with Dingbats.

Cover of 2010 Field Guide to Dingbats

Download here:
Field Guide to Dingbats


1. Excerpts from Los Angeles, The Architecture of Four Ecologies, Reyner Banham - 1 page

2. City of L.A. Dingbat Preservation Plan (Draft) - 2 pages
Available online: http://www.preservation.lacity.org

3. “Dingbat Culture”, Mimi Zeiger - 2 pages
Originally published in READYMADE magazine’s digital preview issue.
4. “Apartment Living is Great - Lesley Marlene Siegel”, John Chase - 2 pages
Originally published in the LA Forum’s 1995 Newsletter “Urban Landscapes.”

5. “The Stucco Box” - Excerpt from Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving, John Chase - 36 pages
The Stucco Box, by John Chase (with John Beach) is reproduced with permission from the author and publisher Verso from the book Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving. The article was original published in Home Sweet Home: American Domestic Vernacular Architecture, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Rizzoli, in 1983.