Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment
as Projection of a Metropolis

Dingbat 2.0 gives an often-maligned Los Angeles building type its long overdue moment in the sun, not only advancing a sophisticated typology of dingbats, but also reimagining the potential of the dingbat for the twenty-first century—at a moment when the imperative to create livable and modest affordable housing is more pressing than ever.

– Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning and Office of Historic Resources


Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment as Projection of a Metropolis is a publication which discusses the influence, both past and future, of the dingbat apartment building on urban development, cultural iconography and architectural history. Existing and historic conditions of Los Angeles’ dingbats and dingbat neighborhoods are examined through short essays by prominent architectural critics and urban theorists, as well as graphic and photo-documentation of dingbats and dingbat neighborhoods. Also included in the publication are winning and selected entries from the Dingbat 2.0 Competition, held in 2010 by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
In Los Angeles the dingbat grew out of the city’s rapid postwar expansion period and defined a pervasive vernacular that still weaves through the space of L.A.’s neighborhoods and the decades of their development. For more than half a century, this idiosyncratic typology has been studied, vilified, praised, and often misunderstood – as much for being ugly and ordinary as for being innovative, iconoclastic, and distinctly “L.A.” As a housing type, the dingbat has aided the sprawl for which Los Angeles is infamous, while simultaneously aiding in the creation of a consistent urban density achieved by few other cities. Dingbat 2.0 speculates on re-envisioning the Dingbat, and in so doing, offering visions for an emerging 21st Century Los Angeles.

Essays by Barbara Bestor, Aaron Betsky, James Black, John Chase, Dana Cuff, Thurman Grant, John Kaliski, John Southern, Joshua G. Stein, Steven A. Treffers, and Wim de Wit. Photographic series by Judy Fiskin, Paul Redmond, and Lesley Marlene Siegel.

The Dingbat 2.0 publication is available for
purchase from DoppelHouse Press here.

Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment
as Projection of a Metropolis

Edited by Thurman Grant and Joshua G. Stein
Published by DoppelHouse Press in cooperation with

The L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design

Book design by Jessica Fleischmann / still room
Cover drawing by Thurman Grant, based on concept
by Jessica Fleischmann / still room