Archinect
anchor

Crazy Old Dingbats in Los Angeles?

ff33º

We are doing a case study for LA dingbats. Does anyone know of any really bad ones...like, say that have brightly colored Stained Glass or perhaps including some kind of dingleberry ornamentation on the front?


Our studio is basically looking at refurbishment and re-purposing strategies for LA building types.

 
Sep 26, 09 11:24 am
citizen

You rang? I've been called worse.

I hope that you're reading John Chase's amazing essay on stucco box apartment buildings in his book "Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving." I love this building type --one that has a substantial history, but that's often dismissed out-of-hand.

Drive around almost anywhere. West Hollywood has a lot of them, so does Santa Monica.

Sep 26, 09 11:37 am  · 
 · 

there are tons of them. usually under appreciated and increasingly demoed to make room for 4-5 story condos. i have been arguing they should remain as rental housing stock for years.
i like the ones with courtyard pools and names. to trained eyes, they can be the unsung beauties. there are countless stories hidden inside their walls. please don't make them rich 'artist' lofts..;.) people at large need them as rental units.
here is one i photographed not too long ago.

Sep 26, 09 1:01 pm  · 
 · 
ff33º

Orhan,
Thanks for you comment. To play devil's advocate here...Would you also argue that the kitschness of some these facades retains and provides a cultural value to Los Angeles?

Our studio is surveying other types like bungalo courts, pool courts, and mini malls as well.

Sep 26, 09 2:27 pm  · 
 · 

oh yes, they do. in my opinion, within their squareness, they represent the labyrinth of los angeles, which is normally a clear cut rectangular city, if you leave the hills out. there live the considerable amount of the population in defined density. many things happen in them. they are not so much of a visual material and unsuccessful at that, minus the few i like.;.)
definitely they contribute to the written and spoken culture. spatially they are motor inn like. sort of car servant. it gets very interesting though, many of them have tenants once checked in but never checked out. they have certain sub sufficiency of light.
there is very modulated sound transfer. once you have one, they are reliable... wouldn't say they are sexy but definitely pornographic.
this is just scratching the surface with flashing imagery in psychocultural way..
i'll take the mini malls maybe later.

Sep 26, 09 8:33 pm  · 
 · 
c.k.

I thought dingbats by definition are boxes hovering over a few parking spaces. the courtyard ones are a different typology, no?
I think West LA has lots of dingbats, and MarVista / Venice have lots of courtyard ones (sometimes they have weddings in those courtyards).

Sep 26, 09 9:41 pm  · 
 · 
Alan Loomis

Be sure to look at Ed Ruscha's photo series "34 Apartments in Los Angeles" (or something like that - I'm sure I'll be corrected if I got the name wrong)

Sep 30, 09 12:06 am  · 
 · 
Mission St.

Dunno if this is what you mean by dingbats but: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=34.06769,-118.282081&spn=0,359.986267&z=17&layer=c&cbll=34.067745,-118.282213&panoid=HUd1kwmv9n_pV1gOI4U9PA&cbp=12,341.25,,0,-2.17

on the North corner of Occidental and 3rd. It's a bit heard to see on google street view, but the building has a couple of columns bolted onto the side of the building, suspended above the ground and off the face of the bldg, with old-timey lanterns sprouting from their middle.

every time i see it i laugh, but i kind of love it...

Sep 30, 09 3:34 pm  · 
 · 
FrankLloydMike

Most dingbats benefit from some sort of interior decorating to tie the room together:

Sep 30, 09 4:33 pm  · 
 · 
liberty bell

Hm. I always thought dingbats and googies were the same. I'm wrong.

Also, I'm surprised no one has posted pictures of either Anna Piaggi or Betsey Johnson. I love them both.

Sep 30, 09 10:54 pm  · 
 · 

some of the more popular & picturesque ones with light fixtures etc., are good but here is a connoisseur material i just photographed yesterday..

Oct 1, 09 2:12 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

Most of us were taught to hate these in architecture school... but I've come to really appreciate them.

Again, anyone who hasn't read John Chase's essay on these is missing a lot of the story. The current disrepair of most of them ignores their rather lofty (if cheesy) aesthetic ambitions when built by the boatload in the 1960s.

Oct 1, 09 3:06 pm  · 
 · 
FOG Lite

Mission St- I used to laugh at that one every time I passed. I think the lights are actually upside down.

Oct 1, 09 3:20 pm  · 
 · 

i am feeling generous today..;.)
here is another hi-design dingbat.

Oct 1, 09 3:24 pm  · 
 · 

sometimes i laugh at them and sometimes i stop and think. like last one i photographed. per sq, ft. it must cost less than a shipping container, for example... beautiful sizing for windows to begin with.

Oct 1, 09 3:28 pm  · 
 · 
FOG Lite

Is always thought part of the dingbat style was the parking spaces carved out of the building, no?

Oct 1, 09 3:28 pm  · 
 · 

FOG, there is no 'always' with dingbats. variation on urban lots and their cost per unit rule. of course parking requirements (always changing over the years) trump everything else.
most desirable units are the ones over any kind of parking areas. either in the back or front, or both, with back wall of the garage going to the roof providing shear while supplying lin. footage depth to the floor above translating it to spatial advantages. and of course, making three sided light penetration and tree sided ventilation possible.

Oct 1, 09 3:40 pm  · 
 · 
FOG Lite

And Citizen, I was taught to love them in architecture school.

Oct 1, 09 3:44 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

Good to hear, FOGL. It took me a while to come around.

And I live in one of those rear, three-sided units over the back parking slots... not much ventilation, unfortunately, since the ONE side I don't have is the side for prevailing breezes. And, with the flat, uninsulated roof, it means that I basically live in the attic. The very, very hot attic in summertime.

Still, it's a great old building.

Oct 2, 09 1:24 am  · 
 · 
aldorossi

Don't forget Banham's mention of Dingbats in "4 Ecologies".

Don't have a photo, but on Hauser just below Pico there is a "restored" Dingbat, named, surprise, "The Hauser"

Oh, the possibilities...

Oct 2, 09 2:12 pm  · 
 · 
SDR

Banham, "The Four Ecologies. . ." (1971), p 175:

Wherever a freeway crosses one of the more dcsirable residential areas of the plains -- say, the San Diego [freeway ?] south to a point just beyond International airport -- it seems to produce a shift in land values that almost always leads to the construction of dingbats. This useful term -- 'the basic Los Angeles Dingbat' -- was probably invented by Francis Ventre during the year he caught at UCLA and lived in a prime example of the type within handy trafflc-roaring distance of the San Diego, and denotes the current minimal form of multi-family residential unit.

It is normally a two storey walk-up apartment-block developed backover the full depth of the site, built of wood and stuccoed over. These are the materials that Rudolph Schindler and others used to build the first modern architecture in Los Angeles, and the dingbat, left to its own devices, often exhibits the basic characteristics of a primitive modern architecture. Round the back, away from the public gaze, they display simple rectangular forms and flush smooth surfaces, skinny steel columns and simple boxed balconies, and extensive overhangs to shelter four or five cars.

But out the front, dingbats cannot be left to their own devices; the front is a commercial pitch and a statement about the culture of individualism. A row of dingbats with standardized neat backs and sides will have every street facade competitively individual, to the extent that it is hard to believe that similar buildings lie behind. Everything that Nathanael West said, in The Day of the Locust, about the fanciful houses in Pinyon Canyon is true of the styles of the dingbats, except that they are harder to trace back to historical precedents, every style having been through the Los Angeles mincer. Everything is there from Tacoburger Aztec to Wavy-line Moderne, from Cod Cape Cod to unsupported Jaoul vaults, from Gourmet Mansardic to Polynesian Gabled and even - in extremity - Modern Architecture.

Oct 3, 09 10:37 pm  · 
 · 
SDR

Banham's dingbats -- just a starter:

Oct 3, 09 10:54 pm  · 
 · 
jojodancer

I am so behind.

What exactly is "DINGBATS"????

Oct 4, 09 3:36 am  · 
 · 
shaner

its a residence usually built on columns so that people can park their cars underneath. there very common in LA. They are usually the lowest income housing and ugly as hell.

Oct 4, 09 8:08 am  · 
 · 
shaner

its a residence built on columns so that people can park their cars underneath. there very common in LA. They are usually the lowest income housing and ugly as hell.

Oct 4, 09 8:08 am  · 
 · 
citizen

Thanks for posting the Banham, SDR.

Oct 4, 09 11:00 am  · 
 · 
SDR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingbat
Oct 4, 09 11:15 am  · 
 · 
SDR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingbat_(building)
Oct 4, 09 11:18 am  · 
 · 
jojodancer

Could be a style borrowed from the early Modernism (International Style) but with a bad taste?

Oct 4, 09 5:29 pm  · 
 · 
ff33º

not bad taste so much as kitsch....and I still ponder the value of this kitsch to the Architectural themes of LA today.

Oct 4, 09 8:20 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

An appreciation for vernacular architecture (as a product of time, place, economics and culture, minus the rarefied design norms learned in architecture school) stands these babies in good stead, in my opinion.

Read John Chase.

Oct 4, 09 8:49 pm  · 
 · 
silverlake

There are some doozies along National Blvd in palms - sunbursts and what not..

My personal favorite is on La Brea at Hillside ave. Its more cool than kitch though, and looks like it could have been done by Neutra...


Oct 4, 09 11:45 pm  · 
 · 
SDR

I suppose the occasional bit of acceptable design was bound to creep in, now and then. . .!

Oct 5, 09 12:15 am  · 
 · 
citizen

Fantastic!

Oct 5, 09 12:52 am  · 
 · 
SDR

Googling Los Angeles dingbats brings up some stuff on "images." This blog has three tours of dingbats. . .

http://tinyurl.com/y9vj9nk

Oct 5, 09 1:31 am  · 
 · 
c.k.

Oct 5, 09 1:56 am  · 
 · 
SDR

Hee-hee. Some cool neighborhood ?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11385692@N00/2443567827/in/set-72157605110660372/

Oct 5, 09 3:04 pm  · 
 · 
silverlake

A couple of nice ones side by side on National Ave, by Carl Maston in 1954 (left) and Ray Kappe in 1955 (right):

Oct 5, 09 7:34 pm  · 
 · 
SDR

Another Kappe; this was for sale a year ago. http://tinyurl.com/yekzuwt



Oct 5, 09 8:06 pm  · 
 · 
SDR

. . .or is that a single-family ?

Oct 5, 09 8:08 pm  · 
 · 
c.k.

is that a chopper dripping with blood in the middle of that picture?

Oct 7, 09 2:15 am  · 
 · 
SDR

Yeah; see link. Kinda ruins the photo for my book report. . .

Oct 7, 09 2:33 am  · 
 · 
stefjam

similar era/sentiment... i'm doing a 5-6 minute informative speech for a public speaking course and i want my topic to be googie architecture in los angeles. any of you know particularly valuable resources? i seem to recall a thread about this, but came up with nada when i searched for "googie" on here.

Oct 14, 09 10:58 pm  · 
 · 
SDR
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/search.php?sid=42c07a1e56e5687d1ba13ede396c5187

Enter Googie -- 204 hits. And don't hate me.

Oct 14, 09 11:13 pm  · 
 · 
stefjam

annnnnd.... I LOVE YOU!

thanks :)

Oct 15, 09 12:49 am  · 
 · 
SDR

My theory of life: Everything is Somewhere

The corollary: You Just Have to Find It

Oct 15, 09 12:58 am  · 
 · 
kyo-ko

like before-mentioned: just drive around mar vista. there are many in my immediate neighborhood--between washington and venice, and between centinella and lincoln. be sure to go down the alleys also.

Oct 15, 09 2:00 am  · 
 · 

fresh new batch (all in the same city block):




(generation gap dingbat. many versions since 70's, mainly responsible for making a bad name for dingbats)















Oct 22, 09 4:39 pm  · 
 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: