The Magnificent Salk Institute at UC San Diego


My friend, Cari, invited me to join her on a tour of the Salk Institute last month. I had never heard of Salk (yes, the polio vaccine guy) or Louis Kahn or knew anything about this world-famous biology institute on the University of San Diego campus in La Jolla.


The architect was Louis Kahn, who believed architecture should be “monumental and inspiring.” And believe me, it was all that and more.

“Completed in 1965 and now designated a historical site, the Institute fulfills founder Dr. Jonas Salk’s vision of a facility with open, unobstructed laboratory interiors set in a dramatic location that inspires creativity among its researchers.

The Salk Institute is more than 50 years old now, a historic milestone for a campus that is revered around the world as a modern architectural treasure.


The buildings are generally in terrific condition, but the teak is the weakest component of the materials used in its construction and thus aging the most quickly.


The Salk Institute has partnered with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) to develop the Teak Fenestration Conservation Program, which will follow international best-practices in conservation, restoration and replacement of the building structures.


The project offers Salk an opportunity to be proactive in maintaining and conserving the teak for the next 50 years. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work to conserve the integrity of the Salk Institute.” (From the web site.)



The day we were there, you could see the fog rolling in from the ocean.


If you are into architecture, you must see this place. Just sign up for a tour in advance. They cost about $15.


How’s this for patio seating?

NOTE: Please expect to see extensive scaffolding around the building and major construction during tours occurring between September 1, 2015, and April 30, 2017.

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