Steven Fleming
University of Newcastle, Mark A. Reynolds - School of Architecture and Built Environment
Callaghan, NSW, 2308, AUSTRALIA

Mark A. Reynolds
667 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, California, 94941, USA

Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, Louis I. Kahn, architect (photograph by Steven Fleming)

This paper presents a geometrical analysis of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies by Louis Kahn, 1959-65. With recourse to construction drawings, a digital plan, photographic evidence, and various forms of textural evidence, we emphasize the role played by musical ratios in Kahn's thinking about architecture. The Salk is widely regarded as a coauthored work, the product of a unique collaboration between scientist Jonas Salk and architect Louis Kahn. Not dissimilarly, the paper is coauthored by a geometer and an historian, the former having the role of identifying proportions, the later charged with reconciling prima facie findings with other available evidence: job correspondence, oral histories, known influences, etc. The research is occasioned, naturally, by the Nexus 2008 conference venue and the Salk's commanding presence north of San Diego, but it also highlights a way in which artifacts, texts and narrative can be given equal consideration when historical inquiry and geometrical analysis are coupled in a joint enterprise.

About the author
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. lectures in the history and theory of architecture at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 from the Department of Architecture at The University of Newcastle, with a thesis on Classical Platonism with respect to Louis I. Kahn's concept of "form". He has worked as a practicing architect in Australia and in Singapore.

Mark Reynolds
is a visual artist who works in oils, drawing/mixed media, and printmaking. He received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Art and Art Education from Towson University in Maryland. He was also awarded the Andelot Fellowship to do post-graduate work in drawing and printmaking at the University of Delaware. Mr. Reynolds is also an educator who teaches geometry for art and design students, and sacred geometry and geometric analysis for graduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Additionally, Reynolds is a geometer, with expertise in geometric analysis. Some of his studies can be found in the Nexus Network Journal. Mark also lectures on his work in geometric analysis at international conferences on architecture and mathematics. For more than thirty years, Mr. Reynolds has been at work on an extensive body of drawings, paintings, and prints that incorporate and explore the techniques of contemplative geometry. His work has been widely exhibited in both group competitions and one-person shows, especially in California. His work is in corporate, public, and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2004, Mark had over thirty drawings accepted into the permanent collection of the Leonardo da Vinci Museum and Library, the Biblioteca Communale Leonardiana, in Vinci, Italy. Mr. Reynolds is also a member of the California Society of Printmakers and the Los Angeles Printmaking Society. Examples of his art can be found online

The correct citation for this paper is:
Steven Fleming, Mark A. Reynolds, "The Salk: A Geometrical Analysis Supported by Historical Evidence", pp. 185-200 in Nexus VII: Architecture and Mathematics, ed. Kim Williams, Turin: Kim Williams Books, 2008.