More Fallout from the UCSB Dorm Debacle

••• “The City of Goleta says it will file a lawsuit against UC Santa Barbara for not providing ample student housing for its rapidly growing student population. […] USCB has failed to meet its obligations under a 2010 agreement to provide housing to its student body [….] Earlier this year, the university began housing students at area hotels, which the city said deprives the local government of transient occupancy tax revenue that would normally come from visitors.” —KEYT

••• Meanwhile, UCSB’s proposed solution, the reviled Munger Hall, faced a ton of blowback. Students protested against it (Santa Barbara News-Press); UCSB architecture history professors have started a petition opposing the building; and the Santa Barbara chapter of the American Institute of Architects released a letter attacking the proposed design. An excerpt:

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.

••• For its part, UCSB published an “interview” (in this context, more of a press release, as we have to assume it’s been vetted and edited by the university’s powers that be) with the project team and architect of record in its house organ, the Current. One clarification of note: “The reports of only two entrances and exits are erroneous. There are actually 15 additional entrances/exits into and out of the building. 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.”

••• And 97-year-old billionaire benefactor Charlie Munger did a car-crash of an interview with Architectural Record. One highlight was his defense fo the windowless bedrooms: “It’s quite endurable, especially with good ventilation. Nobody minds going into a basement restroom and peeing because there’s no window.”

••• “The Warrior Head statue at Carpinteria High School will not be redesigned, following a meeting last week by the Carpinteria Unified School District board of trustees.” Carp sure is behind the zeitgeist on this one. —Coastal View News

••• Despite protests from paragliders and hang gliders, Carpinteria’s Architectural Review Board meeting voted to send the Rincon Multi-Use Trail on to the Carpinteria Planning Commission. “The goal of the project, as expressed by city officials over the past several years, is to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and to prevent people from crossing the railroads tracks, which is illegal. It also would offer cyclists another route down the coast, other than the shoulder of the Highway 101 freeway—which is legal, but unsafe. […] But the controversy for the project lies in its plan to potentially destroy a launch site.” —Coastal View News

••• “A pair of floating wind farms proposed for state waters off the coast of Vandenberg Space Force Base will undergo further environmental analysis despite multiple concerns, including from the local fishing industry.” —Noozhawk


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