Jonas Salk, the developer of the first inoculation for polio, had a distinct vision for the Salk Institute as he worked with scientists and architects to create a new paradigm for research and collaboration. Salk worked closely on many of the construction details of the Institute.
In December 1959, Salk and architect Louis Kahn began a unique partnership to design such a facility. Salk summarized his aesthetic objectives by telling the architect to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.” Kahn, who was a devoted artist before he became an architect, was able to respond to this challenge.
Truth to materials, unadorned marble, cast concrete and raw teak in perfect symmetry around the narrow rivulet running down toward the hidden pool make this space a place of contemplation. At both the Spring and Autumn equinox the sun sets directly in line with the water channel.