Friday, January 8, 2010

My Favorite Dingbat

Wrapping up my most recent tour of Los Angeles Dingbat apartments I'm delighted to share one last pristine example. Located at 1553 South Fairfax Avenue, this one may not be as iconic as other examples, especially given its lack of fanciful scripted name (see The Hauser for example). Still, I love this place...

Maybe it's the asymmetrical layout of the front façade. Maybe it's the pleasing balance of beige and hunter green (I'm fairly color-blind, so I'm just guessing here). Maybe it's the way the building appears to nearly float atop those tiny stilts (dig that International Style!). But most likely, it's those swell tubes projecting with geometric precision from the right side.

See 'em? They don't jut far from the façade, but they recess sufficiently inward to provide resting spots for local birds (I waited around for a while to get a decent pic of one sticking his head out, but wasn't that fortunate). It's so cool to watch the effects of morning shadows on these adornments, so eye-catching and gleefully useless.

Oh, I snapped a decent pic of one bird, mocking my efforts to photograph one roosting in one of those little tubes. Underneath, you can spot an essential component of Dingbat style: over-sized and stylized street address numbers. Again, seeing the shadows play with that san-serif font was pretty cool.

As is often the case, William Gibson offers some insight:
"Architectural photography can involve a lot of waiting; the building becomes a kind of sundial, while you wait for a shadow to crawl away from a detail you want, or for the mass and balance of the structure to reveal itself in a certain way."
In my return visits to L.A. - and in trips to other Dingbat meccas - I may eventually discover an ever more perfect example of this architectural form. But for now, 1553 South Fairfax Avenue is my favorite Dingbat. Is there one you like? Post a comment - preferably with a Google Street view so we can see it!

(Photographs by Andrew Wood)


Andrew Wood said...

Many thanks to Andrea's follow-up comments (via Facebook) recommending that I check out the Dingbats in St. Pete, FL. I plan to start my tour at the end of Pass-a-Grille Beach near the Don Cesar Hotel when I return to the Sunshine State...

Anonymous said...

wow, you should definitely go to Downey in LA
there are so many dingbats and almost right next to each other!

i got a dingbat seizure when i passed through some of them haha

its dingbat heaven!!

heres one in particular which was neat:,-118.130885&spn=0.001139,0.004404&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.184175,72.158203&hnear=Downey,+Los+Angeles,+California&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=33.947136,-118.131079&panoid=pkXGkY6yKc5AotQeybrOvQ&cbp=11,29.27,,0,-1.21

and another one nearby,-118.130005&spn=0.001139,0.004404&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.184175,72.158203&hnear=Downey,+Los+Angeles,+California&t=m&layer=c&cbll=33.947523,-118.130004&panoid=tDmlv2v8TtiYfcipEM-8zQ&cbp=11,316.93,,0,-8.33&z=18

they are everywhere in Downey
you could also roam around the neighboring streets 7th 6th and so on..they are literally everywhere!

and also other part of Downey too

good luck exploring!