Fiat Dollars and the Architectural Results of Unsound Money.

Charlie Munger, the 97-year-old billionaire who has been ridiculed for wanting to build a dormitory with thousands of windowless bedrooms at the University of California, Santa Barbara, came out swinging on Monday morning. In a wide-ranging conversation with Record, he called his opponents — including a respected architect who resigned from an advisory committee last week — “idiots” and said he expects the 4,500-room building to be copied all over the country. “Every other college will be jealous,” he asserted.

Munger’s plan for an 11-story, 1.68 million square foot housing block was greeted with open arms by the university’s chancellor, Henry Yang, who called it “inspired and revolutionary.”

The building will have nine identical residential floors, each divided into eight “houses,” with each house further divided into eight eight-person suites. Rows and rows of identical 10 foot by 7 foot bedrooms give the building, in plan, about as much variety as a sheet of graph paper. And only about 6 percent of the rooms — the end rooms in each row of 32 — have windows.”

“Everybody who sees the models goes ape-shit for them,” Munger said.

“It’s all about the happiness of the students. We want to keep the suicide rate low.” Munger said.

“We had a window shortage. So we just copied what Disney Cruises did. The way Disney does it, the window is really a television set. Those work beautifully on the ships.

But I wanted to have a spectrum of sunlight, so with a curtain hanging over it you couldn’t tell if it was artificial or real. I figured out how to do that. Programming the lights to copy the sun was too expensive. So we will give the students knobs, and they can have whatever light they want. Real windows don’t do that.”



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