Windowless, the UC Santa Barbara mega dorm designed by millions is scaring the internet

A consultant for the university review committee has stopped protesting, describing Munger Hall as a "social and psychological test."


The design of a billion-dollar large dormitory that can accommodate UC Santa Barbara students in multiple windowless rooms has drawn widespread criticism and led to the dismissal of an architect.

The proposed building, named after Munger Hall by donor Charlie Munger, will accommodate 4,500 students in a 1.68 million-square-foot complex with only two doors. The project is expected to cost $ 1.5 billion.

The living quarters on the building will be divided into eight one-bedroom apartments, 94 percent of which have no windows.

The project eventually led to designer Dennis McFadden resigning from the UC Santa Barbara project review committee, where he has worked for nearly 15 years.

In an October 24 letter of resignation to the Imgur photo-sharing committee, McFadden described the project as a "social and psychological test that has an unknown impact on students' lives and personal development".

"The basic concept of Munger Hall as a student residence cannot be supported in my view as an architect, parent and individual," McFadden wrote.

McFadden also expressed concern in the letter about the lack of a committee to contribute to the project, as well as Munger's contribution to the construction of the building.

Interior provision of proposed Munger Hall residences.

Interior provision of proposed Munger Hall residences. With the help of UC Santa Barbara

Munger, 97, donated $ 200 million to the project in 2016, saying he would only pay for a house if it was built his way.

He told the UC Board of Regents in 2016 that instead of windows, bedrooms will have window-shaped monitors like portholes on Disney cruise ships, where "starfish come in and snatch your kids."

The building will also include recreational areas, a fully serviced restaurant, and according to the California Environmental Quality Act, 570 surfboard storage facilities.

Münger dismissed criticism for the amount of influence billions on projects such as the mega dorm, telling MarketWatch that "it's better to be a millionaire and less popular than to have no money."

Despite the setback, UC Santa Barbara aims to move forward with the planned building.

University spokeswoman Andrea Estrada described Munger Hall in a statement as "a changing student residence."

McFadden, however, doubts the functionality of the structure. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, he wrote that the building is “testing the engineer for the public experience” by placing public spaces in the surrounding area of ​​the building, which will receive natural light.

He described each apartment as "closed", and likened it to "living in a laundry room buried in the middle of a store in Ikea, with a window next to the back door."

Estrada dismissed concerns that a lack of ventilation would jeopardize Covid's safety in the building, stating that "there is no air circulation between students' rooms" as each bedroom "will be provided with continuous fresh air." Exhaust air will be blown directly out.

"One would argue that this could be an improvement in air quality as it does not require the student to open the window to ventilate," he said.

Social media users are shocked by these programs. Some have compared the living conditions that they have in order to guard the living quarters in the thrilling dystopian Netflix game "Squid Game," which also has no window.

Some have likened the claustrophobic system of dormitories to prison cells.

Estrada underwent important project evaluations such as the "inappropriate name," which noted that the exit plans for the building comply with fire and construction code requirements. The mix of private dormitories and public spaces is designed to provide students with a balance of privacy and the opportunity to interact with people, he said.

“It has for many years been developing these ideas in other student housing projects,” says Estrada.

Munger, who does not have a building license, previously designed and funded the Munger Graduate Student Residence Hall at the University of Michigan, which houses more than 600 students. Like the proposed Munger Hall, each apartment with six to seven bedrooms has no windows.

CNN reported that students relied on solar panels. Graduate student Luiza Macedo told CNN she had not seen the sun for a week when she feared Covid.