Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal title=
The Munger Residence Hall would stand 159 feet tall, just below the height of UCSB's Storke Tower. | Credit: Courtesy
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Source: American Institute of Architects (AIA), Santa Barbara

TO: UCSB Chancellor Yang
VIA: Email
RE: USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal Dt: November 5, 2021

AIA Santa Barbara Emphatically Rejects USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

As Architects, it is our responsibility to positively design the built environment in ways that support the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants, respect the natural environment, and enhance the community at large. The American Institute of Architects, Santa Barbara Chapter (AIASB) believes unequivocally that the Munger Residence Hall as proposed, does not meet these requirements and that there is no justifiable reason to proceed with the project as proposed.

Our collective response to this proposal is not a critique of style, rather this is a critique of the unacceptable, inhumane living conditions that will no doubt, have psychological impact on its inhabitants and the community at large. This project shows complete disregard to the building’s scale and proportion in relationship to its immediate surroundings and the negative impact it will have to the community in which it’s located.

To function and thrive, we as human beings are reliant upon the natural environment. We all require clean water, fresh air, and connection to the circadian rhythms of our environment for good health and mental well-being. There are countless studies, documented over decades, that demonstrate buildings, which provide these essentials, produce happier, healthier inhabitants, who are more productive and more engaged. Connection to our natural environment has positive profound impacts on our moods, stress levels and psyche. Further, the artificial daylight and air ventilation required by the proposed Munger Residence Hall fosters none of these basic essentials and degrades the planet by depending upon constant energy consumption.

UCSB is attempting to sell 10 floors of densely packed substandard cells as a housing 'choice' for undergraduate students. The reality is, 20% of the future undergraduate body will end up living in Munger Halls’ substandard housing because they have no other choice.

Santa Barbara is a city known for its focused effort to preserve, protect, and embrace the natural environment and is a world leader in this regard. The University of California Santa Barbara is a world class educational institution known for its environmental leadership and has been recognized at the highest levels for its accomplishments in science, the arts, and environmental protection and research. We urge the University to seek and encourage buildings that respect the natural environment, contribute to the community and support the student’s health, safety and welfare to the highest level. Munger Residence Hall, as proposed, fails to meet these goals at any level.

We are grateful to Architect Dennis McFadden for his service on the University Design Review Committee and for standing up against this project. AIASB strongly agrees with Mr. McFadden and the many other voices of opposition and urges the University to take immediately action to halt and reconsider this project in its entirety.

Respectfully,

Tai Yeh, AIA, AIASB President 2021
Steve Aldana, Assoc. AIA
Joe Andrulaitis, AIA
Vandhana Balachandran Assoc. AIA
Matt Beausoleil AIA
Laura Benard, AIA
Ellen Bildsten AIA
Thierry H Cassan, AIA
Margaret Cherney, AIA
Cassandra Ensberg FAIA
Karen Feeney Hon. AIA
Steven M. Fort, AICP
Alayna Fraser AIA
Amy Gallina, Assoc. AIA
Tim Gorter, AIA
Dwight Gregory, AIA
Juan Heras, Assoc. AIA
Brian Hofer, AIA
Bob Klammer, AIA
Dave Mendro, AIA
Kent Mixon AIA
Susette Naylor, AIA
Jacob Niksto, AIA
Alisa Oberjuerge, Assoc AIA
Robert L. Ooley, FAIA | Vice President of Government Relations
Detty Peikert AIA
Laurel Fisher Perez, President & Principal Planner Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc. Andrew Petrovsky, AIA
Paul Poirier AIA
Ken Radtkey FAIA
Keith Rivera, AIA
Paul Rupp AIA
Jeremy White, AIA
Joe Wilcox AIA

CC:
UC Regents
Julie Hendricks, UCSB Director & Campus Architect
Munger Hall Project Architect of Record, Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderberg County 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann
UCSB Alumni Association
AIACC
California State Architect
AIA National
AIA California
local media outlets

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Byzantium Nov 07, 2021 04:35 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Shades of the city council-approved 9 story condo towers at one time, to be built on what later became Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens. This UCSB building is only one more story taller. Yet, when put to a vote, height limits in the downtown core were rejected. Public is fickle - build tall buildings; don't build tall buildings.

jak Nov 07, 2021 11:02 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

While I am personally quite confident that this vision extracted straight from a dystopian future low budget sci fi direct to video movie for aesthetic, ethical, and legal reasons I really wish that the letter from the architects could have been a little more reasoned and a little less emotional. More science, less authoritarianism please. Does this proposal violate any accepted architectural standards? Of course it does, so list a couple or at least cite a standard. Is this abomination contrary to established health and safety standards? Certainly, so would it hurt to name a well known study or report specifying that? Ultimately the thumbs up or thumbs down will come not from architects but from bureaucrats and politicians. So make it as easy as possible to do the right thing and as hard as possible to do the wrong thing. Don’t leave the world to think that architects have no objective standards or the politicians will think that they know as much about architecture as the architects.

PitMix Nov 09, 2021 03:43 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

I bet it does not violate building and safety codes, just our outdated aesthetic standards. As far as an EIR, State agencies can get away with murder if there is no interested party willing to spend money to sue. You know that solar farm behind the County jail? The County supes certified an EIR saying that installation has no visual or other impacts.

yeah, right.

Ahchooo Nov 07, 2021 02:24 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

I’ve thought from the start that the administration’s promotion of this building is simply a stalling tactic. It won’t get approved, and then the admin will say “It’s not our fault there is no housing, you wouldn’t let us build it.” I’m starting to worry that I’m wrong, and somehow this horrible structure will actually be built. Sure hope not.

a-1636316226 Nov 07, 2021 12:17 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Wait til an EIR is demanded or done. Wait til the Coastal Commission addresses it. I just don't see it happening. I'm finding out more, like zero transportation plan done, no way to enforce not bringing a car (they'll be parked far away), and mention of decreasing setbacks.
I've seen zero mention of an EIR and it's hard to believe one wouldn't be required.

dukemunson Nov 07, 2021 09:21 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

We need to send this money (and the corresponding 4500 students for the 2025 year) to UC MERCED. Let’s make Merced a very attractive (financially and academically) option. While many people will obviously still choose and want the other UC’s… if seems like a win for California if a much more financially viable option is propped up. We don’t need to make it possible for more people to go to UCSB or Berkeley or UCLA. Let’s build and expand where it makes sense.

EricL Nov 07, 2021 08:43 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Any authority who approves this travesty needs to sign a legal contract declaring their personal fault and criminal and civil liability for any future residents/employees/visitors injured or killed due to earthquake, fire, or getting trampled trying to get out the only two exits. None of this finger pointing or legal defense nonsense afterwards. Straight up “It was my decision and I volunteer to go to jail and be bankrupted over it. And have my family shamed for generations to come.“

In a public hearing I’d pass them out in triplicate along with pictures of random young people, over cooked pork chops, and squashed tomatoes.

a-1636461095 Nov 09, 2021 04:31 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Clarification: "The building provides a major entry at the ground floor on the North and South sides of the building; each is flanked by two stairwells accessible from and providing access to all of the floors. Additionally, there are five entry/exit doors on the ground floor on the North, East and South sides of the building. Additional exits can be found on the East and West sides of the building (three on each side, six in total.) There are also four entry/exit points directly from the exterior into the South Lobby." https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2021/020455/munger-hall-qa

EricL Nov 07, 2021 09:48 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Just because I can see the obvious that this is a death trap in the making? And it’s not like I’m recommending crystal healing for Covid. I’m basically chiming in on all the architects that say the same thing. I think your judgment says a lot more about you than it does me.

EricL Nov 07, 2021 09:10 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

2 for a building with 4,500 residents vs. 2-4 for a movie theater with 200-400 people. Do the math. Munger (along with his buddy Buffett) are my investing heroes. But if he invested with the same smarts as this project he have gone broke decades ago.

mtndriver Nov 07, 2021 08:33 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Munger’s response to the objections are pretty tone deaf. The building is a mental health disaster. Imagine spending twelve or more hours a day in a windowless 11x7foot cubicle. He must have modeled the idea on a prison. I’d be suicidal after a couple weeks. Let go of the 200 million and rethink!

SBWalkers Nov 07, 2021 05:28 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Munger's 'project' is silly and childish. Anyone with a brain cell and an eyeball can see his proposal would never make it through a design review committee, let alone approved. He is NOT an architect by any means - this is silly

Rypert Johnson Nov 07, 2021 05:11 AM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

They have already polled students via private means and to asnwer any question on this, the response is anything but cheerful.
Good for these architects doing the proper and ethical thing, no surprise the UC system is doing all the wrong things and "dormzilla" is the epitome of that.

Bird Nov 06, 2021 04:12 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

Agree, Bloomin', thanks to all the architects and others whose voices might --- and should --- make a difference to UCSB and the Regents and the Coastal Commission. Interesting that Mr. Munger is partly blind; that might be part of the explanation about why he has no interest in windows for others.

Bloomin' Handle Nov 06, 2021 02:08 PM
Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

So wonderful to see all of these architects stand up for what is right as well as to strongly and in such a unified way say no to a very, very concerning and sick situation taking place with this building. It is shocking that UC Santa Barbara continues to stand by this very, very toxic situation that how the power to negatively impact and possibly even snuff out so many young lives. "We are grateful to Architect Dennis McFadden for his service on the University Design Review Committee and for standing up against this project. AIASB strongly agrees with Mr. McFadden and the many other voices of opposition and urges the University to take immediately action to halt and reconsider this project in its entirety." Thank you all!

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