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Dingbat 2.0: A book exploring the history & future of the Los Angeles apartments that everybody knows but nobody talks about. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on February 16, 2014.

Dingbat 2.0: A book exploring the history & future of the Los Angeles apartments that everybody knows but nobody talks about.

Los Angeles Forum
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Los Angeles Forum

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About this project

Funding for the Dingbat 2.0 publication will support the production of the upcoming book produced by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.  Your Kickstarter donations will be used to fund the graphic design, copy editing, printing, and international distribution of a publication that will offer the world a new understanding of the dingbat apartments building as an essential part of the urban fabric of Los Angeles.

DINGBAT

The dingbat, even more than the occasional tower blocks below Hollywood or along Wilshire, is the true symptom of Los Angeles’ urban Id trying to cope with the unprecedented appearance of residential densities too high to be subsumed within the illusions of homestead living.

- Reyner Banham Los Angeles, The Architecture of Four Ecologies, 1971

Just as Banham used Los Angeles as a lens through which we could imagine a new form of urbanism emerging across the globe, Dingbat 2.0 uses the dingbat apartment type to explore the seemingly paradoxical potential for individual identity to inhabit the densifying contemporary megalopolis.

WHAT IS A DINGBAT? LOS ANGELES' UBIQUITOUS APARTMENT BUILDING.

Dingbat Facades
Dingbat Facades

The dingbat grew out of Los Angeles’s rapid postwar expansion period and defined a pervasive vernacular that still weaves through the space of the city’s neighborhoods and the decades of their development. For more than half a century, this idiosyncratic typology has been vilified, praised, studied, 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 enabled the sprawl for which L.A. is infamous while simultaneously creating a consistency of urban density achieved by few other cities.

AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS TO THE DINGBAT 2.0 PROJECT

ESSAYISTS: Barbara Bestor, Aaron Betsky, James Black, Dana Cuff , Judy Fiskin (photo essay), Thurman Grant, John Kaliski, Joshua G. Stein, John Southern, Steven Treffers, Wim de Wit;  Co-edited by Thurman Grant & Joshua G. Stein

DINGBAT 2.0 COMPETITION JURY: Barbara Bestor, John Chase, Teddy Cruz, Dana Cuff, Neil Denari, Joshua Prince-Ramus

PANEL DISCUSSION - DINGBAT AS URBAN TYPOLOGY: John Chase, Alan Loomis, Roger Sherman, Mott Smith, Francie Stefan (Moderator) 

PANEL DISCUSSION - DINGBAT AS CULTURAL ICON: Barbara Bestor, Christopher Hawthorne, Alan Hess, Michael Osman (Moderator), Mimi Zeiger 

DINGBAT 2.0 PUBLICATION

Dingbat 2.0 will be the first critical study of the most ubiquitous and mundane building type in Los Angeles: the dingbat. The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design launched the Dingbat 2.0 competition and exhibition to explore this notorious genre of housing and its implications for the history and future of the city. This publication uses the events associated with the Dingbat 2.0 competition and ensuing exhibition as a platform through which to launch discussion of the influence of the dingbat in urban planning, cultural iconography, and art and architectural history. 

The book is divided into three sections addressing the dingbat’s fundamental characteristics, its influence, and its future impact on the city.

Section One traces the influences of the dingbat as it reveals the connections between lifestyle and development, contemporary architecture and typology, and high art’s relationship with the generic. The existing and historical conditions of the dingbat are addressed through short essays by leading architectural critics, urban theorists and artists.

Judy Fiskin, Dingbat, 1982-1983
Judy Fiskin, Dingbat, 1982-1983
Bronson Tropics, Ed Ruscha
Bronson Tropics, Ed Ruscha

DINGBAT TYPES

Section Two is a four-part examination of the qualities and characteristics of the typical dingbat through text, diagrams, and photographs. This Dingbat Primer ensures that the reader has a clear understanding of the exact nature of the dingbat, discussed in more abstract terms in the sections that precede and follow it. 

Dingbat Types
Dingbat Types
Dingbat Types
Dingbat Types

DINGBAT 2.0 COMPETITION - PROJECTS AND CONVERSATIONS

The final section of the publication will address the future of the dingbat and its continued influence on the identity of the city of Los Angeles. The winning entries from the LA Forum’s Dingbat 2.0 competition will serve 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. While the subject of the publication is understood to be quintessentially “L.A.”, the discussions 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.  

Dingbat 2.0 Competition: First-place entry by Carmen Cham, James Black & Tyler Goss
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: First-place entry by Carmen Cham, James Black & Tyler Goss
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: First-place entry by Carmen Cham, James Black & Tyler Goss
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: First-place entry by Carmen Cham, James Black & Tyler Goss
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: 3rd-Place entry by Caroline Filice Smith
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: 3rd-Place entry by Caroline Filice Smith
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: prize-winning entry by The Choripans
Dingbat 2.0 Competition: prize-winning entry by The Choripans

The Dingbat 2.0 Publication is co-edited by Thurman Grant and Joshua G. Stein. Thurman Grant is an architect, educator, and the former President of the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design's board of directors.  Stein is an educator, architect, artist, a former board member of the LA Forum, a recent recipient of the American Academy in Rome's Rome Prize, and the principal of Radical Craft.   

Co-editor Thurman Grant
Co-editor Thurman Grant
Co-editor Joshua G. Stein
Co-editor Joshua G. Stein
Dingbat 2.0 project by Jonathan Kleinhample
Dingbat 2.0 project by Jonathan Kleinhample

 For more info about the Dingbat 2.0 Project and Publication, please visit:

www.dingbat2.com

www.facebook.com/dingbat2.0

www.laforum.org/dingbat2

www.laforum.org/content/competitions/dingbats 

http://laforum.org/content/competitions/dingbats-competition-winners

www.laforum.org/content/competitions/field-guide-to-dingbats 

Risks and challenges

The assembly of this comprehensive cast of characters to critically assess the Dingbat has taken a great deal of time and energy. With the funds from this Kickstarter campaign, we will be able to produce an artifact worthy of the subject this book examines. The LA Forum has significant experience producing publications and while this book is intended to reach a larger audience than our recent pamphlet publications, we are well-versed in the process of taking a book through production. We will continue to send updates on the progress of the book's layout and production to supporters of the project and look forward to celebrating its release with all of you who have learned to love the dingbat.

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Rewards

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    Listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor to the Dingbat 2.0 publication, and our eternal gratitude!

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    A single Dingbat 2.0 custom postcard, with selected imagery from the publication, plus listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor.

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    A set of 4 Dingbat 2.0 custom postcards, with selected imagery from the publication, plus listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor.

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    111 backers

    DINGBAT! * * *
    A single copy of the Dingbat 2.0 publication mailed to you, plus 4 custom postcards, and listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor .

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    FRAME ME! * * *
    A custom designed Dingbat 2.0 silk screen print (4-color, approximately 20" x 30"), plus listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor.

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    5 backers

    DOUBLE-DING! * * *
    2 copies of the Dingbat 2.0 publication mailed to you, plus 4 custom postcards and listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor.

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    27 backers

    DINGBAT COLLECTION! * * *
    A custom designed Dingbat 2.0 silk screen print (4-color, approximately 20" x 30"), plus a single copy of the Dingbat 2.0 publication, 4 custom postcards, and listing on the Dingbat 2.0 website as a contributor.

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    DING + BLING! * * *
    Listing as a Benefactor on the Dingbat 2.0 website, plus 2 signed copies of the Dingbat 2.0 publication and 4 custom postcards.

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    1 backer

    RING-A-DING! * * * Listing as a Sponsor in the printed Dingbat 2.0 book and website, plus 3 signed copies of the Dingbat 2.0 publication and 4 custom postcards.

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    2 backers

    PREMIERE DINGBAT! * * *
    Listing as a Premier Sponsor in the printed Dingbat 2.0 book and website plus 5 signed copies of the Dingbat 2.0 publication and 4 custom postcards.

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    0 backers

    DINGBAT HEAVEN! * * * Tour of Los Angeles Dingbat neighborhoods with Dingbat 2.0 editor Thurman Grant and Los Angeles modern architecture historian. Listing as a Premier Sponsor in the printed Dingbat 2.0 book and website plus 5 signed copies of the Dingbat 2.0 publication and 4 custom postcards.

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Funding period

- (43 days)