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Architect Resigns from Billionaire’s ‘Psychological Experiment’

November 08, 2021 Eric Sorensen
IEN Radio
Architect Resigns from Billionaire’s ‘Psychological Experiment’
Show Notes

Charles Munger isn’t as well-known as Warren Buffett, for whom he has long served as right-hand man at the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

But the 97-year-old, like the Oracle of Omaha, is a Nebraska native, a billionaire in his own right, and a prodigious philanthropist.

He is also, apparently, something of an amateur architect. And his hobby and his financial largesse have combined to spark controversy in his adopted Southern California home.

Five years ago, Munger announced he would donate $200 million toward a new building to alleviate a housing crunch at the University of California-Santa Barbara — on the condition that his blueprints be followed exactly.

Details weren’t disclosed at the time, but they’re available now: the $1.5 billion Munger Hall would be the largest dormitory in the world, an 11-story block that would house up to 4,500 students in small, single-occupancy rooms — the vast majority without windows.

The university, according to the Santa Barbara Independent, described “Charlie’s Vision” as one in which students would be encouraged to leave their tiny rooms and mingle with others in the building’s common areas.