New Addition Destroys Original Design Intent at Salk Institute

by on May 16, 2022 · 0 comments

in History, San Diego

By Sheila Pell / San Diego Reader

A dispute over an addition to the Salk Institute in La Jolla has ended. Last week, the Planning Commission denied an appeal claiming the proposed design ruins the historic integrity of the East Torrey Pines building.

It’s like installing a two-story-high picket fence around Stonehenge, as one critic put it.

Not everyone agreed, but no one disagreed that the famous research center, designed by architect Louis Kahn and first approved in 1961, is historically important, even though it has not been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“My objection is not to the research wings, it’s not to the landscaping,” or the underground parking, said appellant and architect, Charles Kaminski.

The problem is the atrium, an open, interior, sky-lit court centered between two six-story buildings. It’s not just a space to hold gatherings, or to connect the twin research structures. Photos from the original plans make clear the intent of Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, and architect Kahn, Kaminski said.

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