Charlie Munger funds a giant windowless dormitory in California. An architect resigns
The UCSB campus is located on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and has its own beach. Its beachfront location is an integral part of the campus culture and identity – and Munger Hall doesn’t reflect that, McFadden said.
While the dorms themselves don’t have windows, the exterior of the building does, allowing natural light into the common living areas.
“Even the rooftop courtyard … looks inward and may just as easily be on the ground in the desert as it is on the eleventh floor on the California coast,” McFadden wrote.
Besides being Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Munger is an amateur architect. He has no formal education in the field.
“Architecture is a field where tastes vary, and everyone thinks he’s an expert. And there are never two architects to agree on anything,” Munger told CNN Business.
Munger, the 97-year-old vice president of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, has donated $ 200 million to UCSB to fund the dorms, with the caveat that his designs will be followed. He wanted the dorms to be tiny and windowless to encourage residents to spend more time outside in common areas, meeting other students.
“While the chamber may be ‘just good enough’, the whole experience makes it exceptional – ‘our city in the sky’,” the UCSB Design Review Board report said. ‘October.
This did not suit McFadden.
“As a single donor ‘vision’, the building is a social and psychological experience with unknown impact on the lives and personal development of the undergraduates served by the University,” McFadden wrote.
The Munger Hall plan includes an 11-story building that would provide more than 4,500 beds for undergraduates. Each residential floor would have eight “houses”, each containing 63 students. There are eight suites in each house, and each suite has eight single beds (window not included), as well as two bathrooms and a common area.
The UCSB said in a statement that the building project and design will proceed as planned. The university added that all of its current housing projects are guided by a campus plan, which was “developed through an extensive participatory process on campus with the help of Urban Design Associates.”
“When this thing goes up and becomes an extreme hit, which is absolutely inevitable, I think there will eventually be more buildings like this on the UCSB campus,” Munger said.
McFadden wrote in the letter that Munger Hall’s population density would be slightly lower than part of Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. There are only two entry and exit points.
“The project is essentially the student life part of a mid-sized college campus in a box,” McFadden wrote. “Munger Hall is an experience of unprecedented size and density in student housing on this scale. “
The plan was designed by architect Navy Banvard, director of Van Tilburg, Banvard and Soderbergh. Banvard said Munger Hall is a collaborative process between UCSB, Munger and the design team.
“One of the reasons, and there are several, for the project is to meet the University’s substantial housing needs,” Banvard said. “Quality and affordable housing for students in a very competitive housing market. “
Munger’s grandson is a former UCSB student.
“I am a product of education, of public education,” Munger said. “And I know how important the schools and the architecture of the schools are, so naturally I drifted into creating dormitories.”
The project is expected to open in fall 2025 pending approval and certification in 2022 by the California Coastal Commission.