The Jonas Salk Institute was on my must-see list for years, and I finally made it there! About 20 minutes north of San Diego, the Salk Institute is open for public architecture tours by appointment and a small admission fee is charged. And it’s well worth a trip to see this in person.
Perched on the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California, Louis Kahn's architecture is a kind of spiritual minimalism that is unlike any other place.
The Salk Institute was built in 1962, but feels absolutely modern and current today, a half-century later. Kahn initially considered planting a garden between the two buildings, but then he collaborated with Luis Barragan on the design of a central plaza. Barragan told Kahn that he should not add one leaf, nor plant, not one flower, nor dirt, instead, make it a plaza with a single water feature. The resulting space is considered the most impressive element of the entire design.
Serene and timeless, the Salk Institute feels simultaneously futuristic and ancient. What an amazing experience.
All photos ©2019 Robert King