Local Architects Reject USCB’s Munger Residence Hall Proposal

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.


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

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
California State Architect
AIA National
AIA California
local media outlets

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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