Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is partnering with the Salk Institute to help develop techniques for conserving one of Louis Kahn’s finest works. Overlooking the Pacific coast in La Jolla, California, Kahn took advantage of the peaceful surroundings and natural light when he designed the Salk Institute site. However, these same marine elements also provide unique conservation challenges for the concrete and wood structure, particularly for its teak window walls, the Getty Trust reports.

Part of the GCI’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, the project will determine the condition of the teak and develop recommendations for its treatment and long-term conservation. “Partnering with the Salk Institute on this conservation challenge will assist in developing new approaches for practitioners in conserving other icons of modern architecture, which makes it a terrific project for us,” said Susan Macdonald, Head of Field Projects at the GCI.

Read on after the break to learn more about the conservation initiative.

© Liao Yusheng

The Salk Institute’s design consists of an open plaza with two buildings mirroring each other on either side. Each has six stories, with three floors of laboratories alternating with floors containing utilities. The building uses concrete, teak, lead, glass and steel, while the open plaza is made of travertine marble, with a single narrow strip of water running down the center and connecting the buildings with the Pacific Ocean.

The investigation phase of the conservation project has already begun and will continue for another 18 months. The results will then be used by the Salk Institute to develop methods of conservation for the teak window walls against the harsh marine environment, and apply these methods to other elements of the site.

Visit the Getty website to learn more about the conservation effort.

About this author
Cite: Katie Watkins. "Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute " 25 Aug 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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