The project of a dormitory building of UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) created by a donor billionaire has drawn criticism for its “inhumane” design.
Charles Munger, a 97-year-old billionaire and an amateur architect, donated $200 million to the project of the Munger Hall on the condition that it would be built strictly according to his blueprints, according to NBC News.
The proposal of the mostly-windowless 11-story building capable of housing 4,500 students in a 1.68 million-square foot area that would have only two entrances is facing pushback. Munger’s blueprints have the proposed building divided into apartments of eight single occupancy bedrooms, only six percent of which would have windows, according to Santa Barbara Independent.
The plan also prompted the resignation of architect Dennis McFadden who had worked on the UCSB‘s design review committee for 15 years, according to NBC News.
I saw the UCSB Munger Hall thing cross my timeline several times but hadn’t read the article. It is stunningly inhumane, a building designed to induce depression, to provoke and enable violence, and to be inescapable in an emergency. https://t.co/zP1nRfsL97 pic.twitter.com/BvWESH4MlS
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) October 30, 2021
“The basic concept of Munger Hall as a place for students to live is unsupportable from my perspective as an architect, a parent and a human being,” McFadden wrote, NBC News reported.
McFadden slammed the proposed project — which is expected to have a price tag of $1.5 billion — for its disregard for the established standards of normal student housing and basic principles of sustainability, Santa Barbara Independent reported. (RELATED: University Creates Black-Only Housing To Center On The ‘Black Student Experience’)
The graduating classes of UCSB, after living in Munger Hall with no windows. pic.twitter.com/azZgETYrZs
— Natasha Chandel (@Natasha_Chandel) October 29, 2021
“[I]n the nearly fifteen years I served as a consulting architect to the DRC, no project was brought before the committee that is larger, more transformational, and potentially more destructive to the campus as a place than Munger Hall,” he wrote.
“The University recognizes that this communal and co-living experience and environment is not for every student. That is why there will be many other housing options, both on- and off-campus,” the UCSB wrote in a news release, addressing the public’s concerns with the project.