In 49 states, a dingbat is an elementary school insult, but in California and especially LA, the term refers to a residential building with a very distinct style. These edifices are typically painted with bright pastels and are emblazoned with a script font, outlining the address or tropical names like “The Capri” or “The Pink Flamingo.” All of it is perilously perched above a carport.
What’s the design history of these apartment buildings, and what lessons could they have for California’s current housing crisis?
“They were cheap as hell to build. They were utilitarian. They enabled millions to kind of find a foothold and get started,” Bloomberg writer and editor Laura Bliss tells KCRW.