UC Santa Barbara’s Design Review Committee held a meeting on Oct. 5 to review the details of the Munger Hall Project — an 11-story dorm building that is projected to provide over 5,000 undergraduate students housing by Fall 2025. 

Munger Hall — named after Charles Munger, who donated $200 million for the building —  addresses the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) where UCSB entered into an agreement with the county to provide adequate housing while increasing student enrollment as mandated by the University of California. Since the creation of the plan in 2010, LRDP plans to house 5,000 more students and 1,800 new units for faculty through 2025.

A controversy with the construction of Munger Hall are the windows — or lack thereof. Courtesy of UCSB Current

A controversy with the construction of Munger Hall are the windows — or lack thereof. 

“Many of the bedrooms have windows, and many more do not,” Navy Banvard, architect for Munger Hall, said in response to a public commentator’s question about the building’s windows. 

Banvard said that the bedrooms without windows will have a “fresh air supply” coming in and  “virtual windows that simulate daylight.”

Ventilation requirements mandate rooms must have either chemical ventilation or natural ventilation, according to Dennis McFadden, architect and design consultant for the Design Review Committee. The code also allows for artificial lighting and does not require natural lighting in all spaces. Regardless, many of the bedrooms currently do not have windows in place. 

The project began with a letter to Chancellor Henry T. Yang by Munger, which highlighted six key components of Munger Hall. 

Munger first emphasized the dorm building bringing students together and “enhancing the student experience.” The dorm would encourage a co-living model through the narrowness of its spaces that “encourage interaction,” Banvard said.

“This idea of co-living is very current today,” said Greg Otto from Clark Pacific who is collaborating on the design build of the structure. “[Munger’s] idea is really [about] encouraging those relationships amongst suitemates … and improving the on-campus experience by providing the right amenity mix to really make it a 24/7 campus.” 

Cost-wise, Munger planned to minimize costs of the building’s construction by maximizing the number of beds in a given site — creating eight houses per floor, eight suites per house, eight private bedrooms per suite, along with nine floors of houses.

Each suite also contains a shared study area with a kitchenette, along with two gender neutral restrooms. All suites are connected to the common area of the house through a seven-foot-wide gallery, and the common area includes a large kitchen, laundry room, game room and a few public restrooms. 

“I think the goal was to provide a good place for studying and sleeping, but then provide all these ample community spaces outside the bedroom,” Banvard said. 

The 11th floor of the building, the amenity level — referred to as the “town in the sky” — will hold a fitness center, gastropub demonstration kitchen, central courtyard and a landscaped courtyard covered in enhanced green fluorescent, transparent and synthetic protein material. 

This courtyard will be located outside of the recreation area of the structure and hold a “deconstructed grid of trees” to create an ambiance of spaciousness. 

Right above the gastropub kitchen will be a terrace and lawn area, with terrace seating overlooking the lawn and a possible drop-down movie screen. 

Much of the construction of Munger Hall will be prefabricated — meaning components of the structure will be made somewhere different from the site itself. First, the precast superstructure facade is coming in fully glazed as a wall panel. The superstructure includes a glass fiber reinforced gypsum utilized ceiling.

In addition, the exterior walls of the building through the 10th floor are precast concrete shear walls, and the windows are commercial grade thermally broken aluminum windows with all the glass placed in the front of the building. 

Banvard and his team of architects also prioritized repetition within the suites, with the options of a private room dorm and a three-bedroom and two-bathroom dorm, accompanied by a prefabricated multi-disciplinary assembly around the hallways and study rooms. 

“The ultimate goal is to realize such a successful student housing project, that it will be recreated on other university campuses,” Banvard said.  

Correction [10/28/2021, 12:23 p.m.]: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Charles Munger was an alumni of UC Santa Barbara. This has since been removed from the article. 

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Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (she/they) is an assistant news editor for the Daily Nexus. She can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.