Institute president Dr. Raymond Neutra expresses concern about proposed dormitory at UC Santa Barbara without natural light, views, or natural ventilation.

President, Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design

Henry T Yang
Chancellor UCSB
5221 Cheadle Hall
Santa Barbara CA 93106

Dear Chancellor Yang,

I am writing you to share my deep concern about the health consequences of the proposed artificially illuminated and ventilated dormitory that is being largely donated by Charles Munger. 

If indeed Mr. Munger plans to rely on energy-intensive artificial illumination and ventilation that depends on the unreliable California energy grid and to house students in the equivalent of one of those large cruise ships that proved so disastrous during the recent pandemic, it seems to me to be a long-lasting experiment without informed consent.

I write you partly as a physician and environmental epidemiologist who headed a large research division in the California Department of Public Health and as founding president of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. I am also writing as the president of an institute founded by my architect father that is devoted to promoting design research for buildings that benefit people and the planet.  Ironically, at this writing, your university has an exhibition devoted in part to his famous 1948 Tremaine House which exemplifies his intuitions about the importance of natural light, views, and natural ventilation in Santa Barbara’s ideal climate.

Since that time, physiological and epidemiological research has borne out his intuitions.  The lack of natural light and ventilation has well-documented adverse impacts on physiology, task performance, and health, even though residents may not be consciously aware of them at first.

I urge you to use the precautionary principle that emphasizes the health and well-being of your students above short-term per square foot economies.

Sincerely yours

Raymond Richard Neutra MD  Dr.PH
President, Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design
Cc        Michael V Drake MD 
Cecilia Estolano
Dennis McFadden