A dingbat is a type of formulaic apartment building that flourished in the Sun Belt region of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, a vernacular variation of shoebox style "stucco boxes". Dingbats are boxy, two or three-story apartment houses with overhangs sheltering street-front parking.[1]

Mainly found in Southern California, but also in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada and Vancouver, dingbats are known for their downmarket status and inexpensive rents. Some replaced more distinctive but less profitable building structures, such as single-family Victorian homes.[2] Since the 1950s they have been the subject of aesthetic interest as examples of Mid-Century modern design and kitsch, since many dingbats have themed names and specialized trim. Dingbats are also reviled as socially alienating visual blights; California historian Leonard Pitt said of them, "The dingbat typifies Los Angeles apartment building architecture at its worst."[1]

From a structural engineering perspective, the "tuck-under parking" arrangement may create a soft story if the residential levels are supported on slender columns without many shear walls in the parking level.[3]


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