See My City: The Salk Institute

"What?" you say. She's including a medical research facility as a highlight of San Diego? You bet I am. Take a look for yourself.

Dr. Jonas Salk (of polio vaccination fame) asked his architect, Louis I. Kahn, to create an open, adaptable space to house the Institute's laboratories. The travertine courtyard is the showcase piece, with views looking out over the Pacific Ocean.

Now you know that I'm a huge lover of design, and after one visit to the Salk Institute, I can safely say that this is my favorite structure to photograph in San Diego. The use of space and materials is simple but genius, and it complements the surrounding landscape in such a lovely way. The stream of water running the length of the courtyard to the reflecting pool - with the Pacific Ocean just beyond - is the perfect nod to the Institute's location.

The reflecting pool at the end of the courtyard, over looking the cliffs of La Jolla.

The research facilities on either side of the courtyard are actually six stories tall, with two stories located below ground. In order to be as low maintenance as possible, Kahn used poured in place concrete and unfinished teak for his facade. As a result, the building now looks much like it did in 1960s. (source)

Visitors have limited access to the Institute's grounds, but are welcome to visit the courtyard when the facilities are open.  A guided tour is provided daily at Noon.  I'll be going back for a tour myself, because I'll want to see this structure again and again.  (Although, I couldn't believe my luck that it was an overcast morning on my first visit - a photographer's dream!)