Munger Hall was a planned dormitory at the University of California, Santa Barbara designed by billionaire businessman Charlie Munger.

History edit

The entire University of California system is currently struggling to build enough housing to meet current and future demand.[1]

In order for the dormitory to be built, it must be approved by the County of Santa Barbara, the University of California Regents, and the California Coastal Commission.[2] Plans to build the dormitory were cancelled in August of 2023.[3]

Design edit

The 11 story, 1.68 million square foot building would have housed up to 4,500 students. The residential floors are organized into eight “houses” of eight suites which each include eight single-occupancy beds, two bathrooms, and a common space.[4] Due to how these suites were arranged, 94 percent of the students would not have had windows in their bedrooms.[5][6]

The building's design was conceived by Charlie Munger, who based the design philosophy on the interior rooms of a cruise ship. The building's architects were Van Tilburg, Banvard, & Soderbergh (VTBS).[5] Munger donated $200 million to the project on the condition that the university follow his design exactly.[7] The building was expected to cost $1.4 billion.[8]

The heating and hot water for the building would have been all electric, in compliance with UCSB environmental policies to avoid fossil fuels.[9]

Reception edit

The design of Munger Hall was met with widespread negative attention, with specific criticism being directed towards the lack of natural light in most of the space. Dennis McFadden, an architect, resigned from the UCSB Design Review Committee in protest of the design saying it was “unsupportable from my perspective as an architect, a parent, and a human being.”[10] The design was described by Paul Goldberger, New York Times architecture critic, as a "grotesque, sick joke — a jail masquerading as a dormitory".[5]

Architecture critic Rowan Moore criticized those in support of the building, calling their argument one with no bottom.[11]

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter released an open letter to the President of the University of California opposing the constitution of Munger Hall.[12]

A panel of experts and community members criticized the design in a 200 page report saying that it poses "significant health and safety risks that are predictable enough, probable enough and consequential enough”.[13]

References edit

  1. ^ "Housing demand far exceeds supply at California colleges".
  2. ^ "Dormzilla Descends on UCSB". July 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Roche, Dan (9 August 2023). "University of California abandons plans for "windowless" Munger Hall". The Architect’s Newspaper. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  4. ^ Maruf, Ramishah (October 29, 2021). "Warren Buffett's billionaire partner bankrolls windowless dorm. An architect quit | CNN Business". CNN.
  5. ^ a b c Cramer, Martia (October 30, 2021). "After a Billionaire Designed a Dorm, an Architect Resigned in Protest". New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  6. ^ Kornfield, Meryl (October 30, 2021). "Two doors, few windows and 4,500 students: Architect quits over billionaire's mega dorm". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  7. ^ Hayden, Tyler (October 28, 2021). "Architect Resigns in Protest over UCSB Mega-Dorm". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Proposed UCSB Munger Hall Dorm Building Sparks Local, National Criticism, Student Protests".
  9. ^ "UCSB Divulges New Details on Munger Mega-Dorm". July 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Architect Resigns in Protest over UCSB Mega-Dorm". October 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "A student hall from hell hath no windows to distract from study and sleep | Rowan Moore". the Guardian. November 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "AIA Los Angeles joins growing opposition to controversial UCSB Munger Residence Hall". Archinect.
  13. ^ "Charlie Munger's windowless mega-dorm may reportedly pose health risks". Business Insider.