Louis Kahn and The Salk Institute
Standing alone against the endless blue sea, the Salk Institute by Louis I. Kahn is one of a kind. "Louis Kahn's Salk Institute for Biological Studies on the Pacific coast near La Jolla aspires within its own spirit to an order achieved through clarity, definition, and consistency of application"(Heyer 195). To many, this magnificent structure may seem out of place, but it works well with the surrounding environment because of the spatial continuity that it possesses. The relation to the site, the tectonic characteristics, and the ideas of servant versus served, combine to achieve a great sense of order in the Salk Institute. Many of the ideas that went into the construction of this design are still utilized in architecture today.
Kahn's modern design takes full advantage of the atmosphere by opening up a broad plaza between two research and lab wings providing a view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the coastline (Ghirardo 227). The laboratories are separated from the study areas, and each study has a view of the magnificent blue Pacific with horizontal light pouring in. This allows scientists to take a break from their frantic studies and clear their minds with a breath-taking view. In relation to this idea Kahn stated, "I separated the studies from the laboratory and placed them over the gardens. Now one need not spend all the time in the laboratories" (Ronner 158). The two lab wings are symmetrical about a small stream that runs through the middle of the courtyard and feeds into the ocean.
This steady ban of water flowing towards the sea symbolizes the success that human can accomplish. I thought this idea had a worthy presence, considering the Salk Institute is one that promotes research and study. Thus, the courtyard is considered the façade to the sky. Kahn didn't need to dress up the land around the plan because the Salk Institute is the landscape. It is one with the site.
Kahn incorporates the use of tectonic characteristics within this design in a number of ways. The materials used included wood, concrete, marble, water, and glass, and they all contributed to the Brutalist notions and simplistic plan. He believed that concrete was the stone of modern man, and therefore it was to be left with exposed joints and formwork markings (Ronner 164). ...