Louis Kahn Salk Institute | 1959-1965

salk institute

Salk Institute is a masterpiece of Louis Kahn, and, according to many critics one of his most representative works.

The Salk Institute is the work of the American architect who became important internationally around age 50 and then disappear prematurely. But the dead premature has not deterred from leaving to posterity a series of great architectural examples.

The turning point in the artistic life of Kahn was the journey to Italy. In the peninsula he has made his personal Grand Tour and was so fascinated by all the architectural history present in the territory, that it became the foundation of his poetic.

louis kahn salk institute

louis kahn salk institute

“Great architecture, great ruins said the architect, placing itself in clear contrast with the great palaces of glass and iron that at that moment began to bombard the streets of the United States. From this idea could only ensue a very careful use of materials – stone, wood, but especially brick, the raw materials from which come his masterpieces.

Even if he’s still poorly studied in schools and universities Italian, the legacy of Louis Kahn is huge. From here you should start to learn to grasp the significance of the matter, the meaning of its use.

salk institute ùlouis kahn salk institute

Built on a hill, it turns his best side directly into the sea. The Pacific. Here we find the typical monumentality of Louis Kahn – but everything remains within reach of a man, giving a sense of cohesion.

The central square space and the strip of water that bisect the area, offer a sense of fullness and lightness rarely seen before. Both sides are occupied by the two Study Towers, but thanks to the perspective, they are light, and you never feel oppressed, in fact, they give an impression to step aside to give way to the sky.


louis kahn salk institute

The materials used throughout the complex are only three: concrete, wood and Tivoli travertine used for paving the courtyard and fountain.

I love to remind you the documentary on Louis Kahn directed by his son Nathaniel titled “My Architect”. Nathaniel Kahn is one of the children born from one of the three marriages of the American architect. Masterfully recounts the life of his father, along several of his works, never forgetting the affective aspect.


Salk Institute

Photo copyright: Wikipedia, forums.ronenbekerman.comblog.sarahledonne.com (also the cover image)

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