“Billionaire Charlie Munger is bankrolling the design of a massive dormitory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The $1.5 billion project comes with a major catch—94% of the dorm’s rooms have no windows. In addition to being Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Munger is an amateur architect, with no formal education in the field. ‘I think the building will be a huge success,’ he said.” — AP
Billionaire Hank Gregson, a cousin of Warren Buffett, has pledged $300 million to the Los Angeles Homeless Coalition for construction of 2,500 units of affordable housing. Though Gregson has no background in architecture or engineering, for the project he will serve as both architect and engineer. The new units will be too small for beds, and will have no sinks, showers, or plumbing in general. “And definitely no windows,” he said.
Thomas Girardelli, another Berkshire Hathaway billionaire, has announced plans to fund a new football stadium at his alma mater, Auburn University. Though he has no training as an architect and has never played football, Girardelli designed the stadium and field himself. Instead of grass on the field there will be gravel, the locker rooms will be underwater, and three-fourths of the seats will face the parking lot. “I think people will love it,” he said.
Paul Richardson, a neighbor of Buffett and also a billionaire, has given $200 million to the San Diego Zoo. Though he has no training in biology or animal husbandry, he will be designing a new mammal birthing center, and will be delivering all new zoo infants himself. Once born, the young tigers, elephants, and giraffes will be placed in windowless rooms until adulthood. “My guess is they’ll be fine,” he said.
Walter Hyland, who made his billions managing Warren Buffett’s quarterly newsletter, will give $540 million to the Chicago Symphony for a new concert venue, which he has designed with his grandson Rory. The new venue has nine waterslides, twelve trampolines, no seats, no windows, and no stage. “Rory is really excited,” Hyland said. “And did we mention there will be no windows?”
The city of San Antonio has accepted a $100 million donation from billionaire Steve Lyon, who made his fortune painting pictures of Warren Buffett in pastoral settings. Lyon will design and build a series of daycare centers for kids, none of which will have chairs, tables, or doors. “My thinking is that they will really dig it,” he said.
Billionaire Roger Tennyson, who met Warren Buffett once at an Omaha Denny’s, is donating $230 million to the Mayo Clinic for a state-of-the-art surgical center. His donation will make it possible for all patients to get free bone-marrow transplants, provided he performs the procedures himself. “I am not a doctor per se,” he said, “but I think I will be a huge success.” The patients will recuperate in rooms without blankets, pillows, beds, or windows.
Kenneth Amalfi, who made his fortune dressing like Warren Buffett, has given $2.1 billion to NASA for a new international space station, provided they follow designs he sketched in a notebook when he was thirteen. It calls for the station to have a swimming pool, eighty-eight laser cannons, and Heather Locklear. “Windows,” he said, “were never on the table.”
Construction will soon begin on a particle accelerator funded and designed by billionaire Doug Moriarty, who managed Warren Buffett’s softball team from 1988 to 1991 and from 1994 to 1995. Dozens of scientists have quit, citing the possibility that the accelerator, which amateur physicist Moriarty designed himself, might open a black hole into which Earth and eventually the entire solar system will disappear. “There are always risks,” Moriarty said from his office, which he also designed, and which also has no windows.