Munger Hall, the most hated building in the world that foresees screens instead of windows

Munger Hall, the most hated architecture project in the world in autumn 2021, is so crazy that it is fascinating. What is Munger Hall? A larger school proje

Munger Hall, the most hated building in the world that foresees screens instead of windows

Munger Hall, the most hated architecture project in the world in autumn 2021, is so crazy that it is fascinating. What is Munger Hall? A larger school projected in Santa Bárbara, California, which will occupy 156,000 square meters of plant (to have a scale: the largest English court building in Spain occupies 55,000 square meters) on 11 floors, arranged to accommodate 4,500 students. The interesting thing is that these inhabitants will be installed in rooms of 6.4 square meters, which, in 94% of the cases, will not have light or natural ventilation.

Munger Hall does not have patios or a facade that makes requirements or any kind of porosity that allows to aerate its interior. Munger Hall is a monolith of approximately 120 meters on each side. Its rooms will be individual (in the United States, senior schools usually offer double rooms), they will be grouped into eight-cell apartments (with two bathrooms and a kitchen to prepare breakfast) and will have, instead of windows, plasma screens that will follow the Cardiac rhtyms. That is: they will emit a little color a little different at four in the afternoon than at six and then, at night, they will be in very dark blue. The building will also have a generous parking for surfboards, seating areas on their perimeter and in the attic (these yes, with windows to the street), laundries and common kitchens in the basement (who have calculated the spaces consider that very insufficient and a millionaire 97-year-old benefactor whose interest in leaving a legacy like this is a mystery.

Some of context: The University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB), the University that will receive 200 million Mungger Dollars to build the Higher College, lives for years in a serious real estate crisis since it has calculated that it has a deficit of 10,000 Accommodations for students. The revaluation of housing in the city is moving away from students from UCSB. That context explains, at least in part, the search for radical solutions such as Mungger Hall.

Charlie Munger is the Novelsco character of this story. Lawyer, letter of cards, investor, holder of a fortune calculated at 1,720 million dollars ... In recent years, he financed the construction of senior colleges for Stanford and Michigan universities and other projects in several educational centers of the southern California. The 200 million that he will give in Santa Bárbara will not cover all the expected investment (calculated at 1,500 million dollars) but they are sufficient for Munger to have imposed on his project and his architect of him, Navy F Banvard, from the VTBS study ...

... which is, in fact, a qualified tutor more than the author of the project. Banvard has declared Dezeen's magazine that the design of the residence "Emanates from Muster's research and the work of Him continued in the transformation of the concept of student residence." The relationship of the client of him with architecture is contradictory. On occasion he has referred with irony to the office of architect and in some other he has played a designer from other residences of students and the family home of him. The references of him are atypical: Munger, for example, has said that digital windows already work very well on Disney cruises and recalled that, in them, the stars give flashes, which represents an obvious improvement from the natural model. Banvard, for his part, recognizes that Santa Bárbara's approach is a "social experiment".

The project is already underway even though it has provoked teasing, resignations, criticisms and rejection campaigns. The most obvious has to do with the conditions of habitability and environmental sustainability. How much does it cost and what energy expenditure does it require to air and illuminate a building without windows? And that, in California, with a very friendly climate. Afterwards, there are the complaints that have to do with the common good and urbanism: The Facade of Munger Hall has a slight air of historical architecture, but it does not make any effort to contribute something to the public space, on the street. And, finally, the political type arrive: Does a millionaire have a law to decide the infrastructures of a public university? To decide how people should live who are not even the customers of him?

But, in his own way, Munger Hall is also modern. His way of life will be dense, as dense as that of Dhaka's most saturated neighborhoods, in Bangladesh, according to his critics. It is a machine to live up to the limit in a country tormented by urban dispersion. In addition, its plane conducts the flow of residents to the seating / study areas of the perimeter of the building so that the borders between the private and the collective are blurred. And that is a very current idea. Mungger Hall, in the background, reproduces the half-working outdoor spaces of the venues of the technological companies: those images of Friends style sofas and footballs next to the studio tables ...

Is there anything in the history of architecture that has seemed like Munger Hall? The housing blocks that were seen in Blade Runner could be like this if someone had projected them? You can, but Deckard's apartment had a balconne. Was there not a digital window in some return to the future? Also in the USSR, in the 1920s, at a time of great migrations of the countryside to the city and of housing crisis, there were collective housing experiments that in the common areas reproduced trocites of wild nature under ceiling. A little Disney, a little Facebook, a little USSR, that is also Mungger Hall.

Updated Date: 24 November 2021, 14:08

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