The Salk Institute is a leading medical research facility known as much for its scientific breakthroughs as its unique structure and design. Named for Dr. Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine, the building was commissioned by Salk in 1959 and designed to have a monumental feel and spiritual impact. Standing at the edge of the series of uniform buildings, one can really feel the expanse of possibility and the inspiration of the design.
The architect researched monasteries worldwide to build what he referred to as an “intellectual retreat,” which it certainly seems to be today. Standing mostly in concrete and glass, its symmetry and simplicity seems the perfect blank canvas for original thought.
The research undertaken here seeks to find a deeper understanding of biological processes, so that we might discover new cures to existing diseases. Through a spark in imagination and with three Nobel laureates on staff, the institute is breaking ground in immunology, genetics, and neuroscience. The structure itself and the institute both make for an inspiring visit.
The Salk Institute is situated on the bluffs of La Jolla on North Torrey Pines Road, overlooking the coast. It is available to tour Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Guided tours of the exterior are given by docents daily at noon for $15 per person. Free parking is available.