20TH CENTURY

DINGBAT (1960-1980)

Francis Ventre coined the term, but the rationale for the use of the term in unknown. It is often considered that the name is derived from the stylistic applied naming on the exterior of the buildings. Dingbats were a prevalent building style for California apartment buildings, but found their place in Alaska. Early forms of this building style used Le Corbusier's pilotis concept and placed the apartment buildings on beams to maximize space. Taking this form, residences can use the space under the building for parking. Other names associated with this style include Shoebox and Dumb-box.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Applied period naming devices.
  • Multi-story rectangular buildings.
  • Flat roof.
  • Exterior walkways and stairs.
  • Individual entrances to living spaces.
  • Uniformity of building materials.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Clad in brick, concrete, stone, T1-11 or wood.
  • Pierced brick work.
  • Exposed aggregate.
  • Mablecrete.
  • Parking below the building.
  • Pilotis.

Evaluation Considerations

Dingbats are rare in groups. Eligibility for this resource will be evaluated individually. To be individually eligible dingbats will maintain a majority of the primary characteristics. All eligible dingbats must maintain their period naming sign. Additionally, dingbats must retain some secondary characteristics to maintain eligibility for their architecture. Integrity of design, materials and workmanship are extremely important when evaluating Dingbats.


For Further Information

Piercy, Clive. Pretty Vacant: The Los Angeles Dingbat Observed. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Seigel, Lesley Marlene. Apartment Living is Great. Melbourne: Outre Gallery Press, 2003.