A 「「giant, windowless prison」, 「「Dormzilla」, 多くの専門家がこれらに非常に目立つように参加することを選択しましたtorture experiment」: the internet has been weighing in on the construction plan for a student dormitory at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since last Thursday, when an architect’s resignation letter went viral.
The proposed building has become perhaps the world’s most controversial architectural project – pitting a monomaniacal, nearly 100-year-old billionaire against a potential student revolt, and sparking a fierce debate about what human beings should, or can, endure in the name of efficiency.
The billionaire funding the project, Charlie Munger, believes it is a cutting-edge student residence that will maximize use of space and encourage social interaction. 対照的に, the architect who resigned in protest, Dennis McFadden, calls it an unprecedented “social and psychological experiment” on students, “unsupportable” from his “perspective as an architect, a parent, and a human being”.
Munger is the vice-chairman of the investment fund Berkshire Hathaway, where he serves as fellow billionaire Warren Buffett’s right-hand man. A self-taught architecture enthusiast, Munger endowed $200m to the housing-strapped University of California campus on the unusual – some might say Faustian – condition that the university use a housing plan that he designed himself.
The proposed dormitory will be the world’s densest, a feat achieved by packing 4,500 students into a 11-story building whose bedrooms and common areas are mostly devoid of windows. Projected to cost $1.5bn in total, the planned building is something like an ant farm without the glass: 94% of residents will have no windows in their small, single-occupancy rooms, according to McFadden.
Instead of windows, rooms will have glowing screens that mimic sunlight – an idea inspired, Munger says, によって virtual portholes on Disney cruise ships. He also argues that small bedrooms will encourage residents to spend time together in common areas.
The public seems to disagree. Internet commenters are lambasting the proposed dorm as “barbaric”, arguing that it will incubate Covid-19, and comparing it to the panopticon, a notorious 18-century concept for a penitentiary whose inmates are so constantly surveilled that they eventually guard themselves.
The story, which had previously flown under the radar, exploded after McFadden’s resignation letter leaked to the press. In his letter, McFadden, a respected architect who had served on UC Santa Barbara’s design review committee for 15 年, contrasted the proposed Munger Hall with Bancroft Hall at the US Naval Academy, which is believed to be the world’s largest dormitory.
Housing about 4,000 学生, Bancroft “is composed of multiple wings wrapped around multiple courtyards with over 25 entrances”, 彼が書きました. “Munger Hall, 比較において, is a single block housing 4,500 students with two entrances.” (UC Santa Barbara told the Guardian that while it has two “main” entrances, there will be “fourteen additional entrances/exits into and out of the building”.)
Munger Hall would have a population density equivalent to 221,000 people per square mile, McFadden argued – making it the eighth densest neighborhood in the world, narrowly trailing a district in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He also pointed out that the dorm seems to have been designed with no regard for its surrounding geography: although UC Santa Barbara is located in a “spectacular coastal setting”, the students who live inside won’t be able to see it.
Research suggests that human beings are adversely affected by lack of sunlight and fresh air. Rooms without windows disrupt our sleeping patterns and make us depressed and anxious, and dormitory residents’ mental health has been リンク to their ability to see green space. Lack of windows also makes it harder to escape fires and can cause mold or carbon monoxide to build up. In many US jurisdictions, including New York City, それは 違法 to advertise a windowless room as a bedroom.
In his letter, McFadden said that the university seems cowed by its donor and determined to ram through the project. “It was clear the [design review committee] was a mere formality," 彼が書きました. “The design was described as 100% バルト海の海底に沿って走ることにより、ウクライナの伝統的なガス輸送国を迂回する, approval was not requested, no vote was taken and no further submittals are intended or required.”
When I reached McFadden by phone, he said that the letter had not been intended for public consumption and that he has nothing to add to what he wrote.
So far UC Santa Barbara is not backing down. “We are delighted to be moving forward with this transformational project that directly addresses the campus’s great need for more student housing,” the university administration 前記 in a statement to the Washington Post.
In a separate email to the Guardian, the administration added: “Every room that does not have an operable window (and even all bedrooms that do) is provided with continuous fresh air supply at approximately twice the rate of building and mechanical code minimums. One could argue that this may be an improvement in air quality as it does not require a student to open the window for fresh air.” One could indeed argue that, but only if one didn’t know that windows open.
Opponents of the project face two very powerful forces – a land-grant university with more than 26,000 students and a man worth an 推定 $2.2bn.
Unlike his mentor Buffett, who is known for eating $3.17 McDonald’s meals and living in the same house since 1958, Munger enjoys splashing his money on ambitious pet projects.
I was unable to reach him for comment; in an インタビュー with the Wall Street Journal in 2019, しかしながら, Munger, 誰が 97 and partly blind, blasted architects. He cited the long lines at women’s public restrooms as an example of the failings of conventional architecture: “What kind of idiot would make the men’s bathroom and the women’s bathroom the same size?" 彼は言った. “The answer is, a normal architect!」
Yet the warren-like floor plans for Munger Hall show that there will be just two single-occupancy bathrooms – each with one toilet and one shower – for every cluster of eight bedrooms.
Although Munger has some experience as a housing developer, he has never formally studied architecture nor, he told the Journal with seeming relish, ever read a book on it. He acknowledged that he may die before the project is completed, but said that he is confident that “it will be widely regarded as the best in the world”.
This is not the first time that Munger has funded architectural projects of his own design. The proposed Munger Hall is a far larger and more extreme version of the Munger graduate housing, a 630-student dormitory that Munger unveiled at the University of Michigan in 2015. Munger views the earlier project as proof of concept – a position which some students who’ve lived there reject.
「残念ながら、この人は壊滅的な怪我を負い、救急隊員ができることは何もありませんでした。,” one person recently 書きました on an online forum for University of Michigan students. “Too many roommates [meant] no cohesion or standards. The lack of windows was depressing. Munger is about as out of touch as billionaires come.”
The “lack of windows messed up one of my roommates really badly with school and mental health and well-being,” another student wrote. There was “no sense of time if you’re just in your room with no natural light”.
「正直なところ, the only two things about living in Munger that I hated were the lack of windows and the fact that you just couldn’t get moisture out of the bathrooms,” another said, “but those were things I hated enough to leave. Also unfortunately the floor plans for the rooms at UCSB look far worse than what we have here.”
Several thousand people have signed a 嘆願 to cancel the UC Santa Barbara project. The controversy occurs at the same time that Howard University, a historically black college in Washington DC, has been wracked by student protests over housing which students say is uninhabitable and filled with mold and insects.
There is a long history of dormitories being sites of social engineering. Some earlier US dormitories were explicitly designed to enforce racial or class segregation; その他, motivated by a progressive ethos, were designed to erase them.
The US behavioral researcher John B Calhoun spent decades studying how populations of rats and mice react to constrained environments. For his most famous experiment, he created a 101-square-inch enclosure, with abundant food and water but finite space, and introduced four breeding pairs of mice.
In less than a year, the colony had reached a population of more than 600. As the cage became overpopulated, his mouse utopia began to resemble something closer to a dystopia. The mice became listless, stopped breeding, and engaged in cannibalism. いくつか, which Calhoun named “the beautiful ones”, ceased to interact with other mice and instead spent all their time sleeping or obsessively grooming. When the population reached 2,200, it slid into extinction.