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.
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.
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.
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 CULTURAL ICON: Barbara Bestor, Christopher Hawthorne, Alan Hess, Michael Osman (Moderator), Mimi ZeigerDINGBAT 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.
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 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.
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.
For more info about the Dingbat 2.0 Project and Publication, please visit:
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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