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Dingbat 2.0 Competition

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.

This is an ideas competition that calls for the consideration of two design issues regarding the Dingbat and it’s impact on the urban fabric of Los Angeles.


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.


Two boards (digital-only submittal) will be required for the competition. One board will address the typology of the Dingbat at the scale of the individual building (are they to be retrofitted? replaced?), and the second board will consider the larger urban scale of an entire city block within a ‘Dingbat neighborhood’.

Proposals are free to address the existing sites through addition, transformation, or complete replacement. Attention should be paid to some of the regulatory changes (parking requirements, pull-out, zoning heights) that have both contributed to the rise and fall of the Dingbat (see Chase article in the Field Guide). In order to offer visionary adaptations of this housing type, current limitations in code and zoning may be questioned.

Three separate sites in three distinct Los Angeles neighborhoods will be considered for the competition.


A total of $9,000 USD in prize money will be awarded in the following categories:


  • 1st place $4000 USD
  • 2nd place $2000 USD
  • 3rd place $750 USD
    Honorary Mentions*


  • 1st place $1500 USD
  • 2nd place $500 USD
  • 3rd place $250 USD
    Honorary Mentions*

*Number of Honorary Mention prizes to be awarded at jury’s discretion, and will receive LA Forum individual membership + LA Forum gifts. All winning entries to receive free LA Forum annual membership for single member of design team, in addition to the designated prize money (six total).


  • This is an open, single stage, international design competition. All designers, architect, artists, engineers, students, and other interested parties are fully eligible for participation in this competition. All design competition processes will be accomplished without regard to race, gender, creed, nationality or sexual orientation.
  • Members of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design are ineligible to participate in this competition.
  • Each entry should be submitted digitally as 2 PDF digital ‘boards’ sized ARCH D (24” x 36”) horizontal format.
  • Entrants are to submit FOUR files total – two individual board files (part A), one file combining the 2 files together (part B), and one written file (part C) of text.
  • Entries may include three-dimensional renderings, scaled technical drawings (plans, sections, elevations, etc.), sketches and photographs. Model photos may be included, but no models will be accepted.

How to enter?

To enter the Dingbat 2.0 competition, complete the following:

  1. Fill out the registration form and return it to LA Forum.
  2. Make payment via PayPal.
  3. Upon verified completion of the above two steps, a verification email will be sent to the email indicated on the entry form to confirm registration.

Entry fee

  • Professional entry fee: $75 USD
  • Student entry fee: $25 USD (must provide copy of Student ID)