Dingbat 2.0

international design competition

iscrizioni entro 31.05.10 | consegna entro 4.06.10

The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design proposes DINGBAT 2.0, an open, single-stage, international design competition, reconsidering Los Angeles' ubiquitous dingbat apartment building for the 21st century. All designers, architects, artists, engineers, students, and other interested parties are fully eligible for participation in this competition.

The Dingbat grew out of Los Angeles' 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 aided the sprawl for which L.A. is infamous while simultaneously creating a consistency of urban density achieved by few other cities. Beyond its role as an alternative to L.A.'s traditionally single-family planning focus, the Dingbat allowed millions of immigrants to arrive in Los Angeles and find their shared piece of paradise. The Dingbat offered the tropes of the singly family house minus the mortgage - a consolation prize to the American Dream.

Yet despite its dominance for over 50 years, the original Dingbat no longer fulfills the changing needs of a new Los Angeles. The majority of new immigrants to L.A. no longer arrive from Middle America and instead they carry with them different traditions of individuality and family life. The car (and the development patterns it demands) is no longer sustainable in a metropolis whose very identity is synonymous with "car culture." Today is an opportune time to revisit the Dingbat, its relationship to the identity of the city, and the unexploited possibilities it may yet offer the discipline of architecture.

Dingbat 2.0 asks designers to re-envision the Dingbat, and, in so doing, offer a revised vision for L.A. itself. In order to redefine the Dingbat, it is essential to understand what has made it so successful (or at least ubiquitous) and determine what form of Dingbat-ness will best define a new identity for an emerging 21st Century Los Angeles. In short, this is not Banham's Dingbat. Instead, Dingbat 2.0 is a complete re-invention of the typology, one that could allude to L.A.'s residential future, rather than simply glorifying one of the many pop-cultural icons of its past.

WebSite Competition www.laforum.org/content/competitions/dingbats

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