Salk Institute

Louis Kahn – Institute for Biological Studies, California USA, 1959-1965

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the most prestigious scientific research institutes in the biomedical field at a global level. It is located in La Jolla, California on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Commissioned in 1959 by the scientist Jonas Salk to the architect Louis I. Kahn, the building uses an evocative positioning on a cliff lapped by the ocean, on which Kahn built one of the most important buildings of the 20th century.
The institute boasts a vast inner courtyard that evokes the majesty of a cathedral, a courtyard that Kahn had initially thought of as tree-lined, but then, on the advice of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán, designed bare, covered in travertine, cut in length by a thin canal of water that crosses the courtyard to throw itself into a series of basins below. A perfect choice because the visitor arouses a feeling of absolute space, timeless, very fascinating for anyone who chooses to rest in peace in this space.
The proportions of the outer courtyard - its horizontality in contrast with the verticality of the adjacent Study Towers - determine a balance that could be defined as timeless. The Study Towers rise symmetrically to the sides of the courtyard, with walls at 45 ° angles that offer spectacular views.

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Salk Institute for Biological Studies


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