Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has nominated the Munk Laboratory, a post-and-beam structure at the center of its oceanfront campus, for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Nominators cite the redwood building’s organic character and mid-century modern post-and-beam style but also its significance as a locale at which history-making scientific discoveries took place. The building, completed in 1963, is named for iconic geophysicist Walter Munk, who was the first leader of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) center in La Jolla. Munk made fundamental observations of ocean waves, tidal forces, and acoustic properties that have influenced generations of scientists. Other researchers made significant contributions to plate tectonics theory working in the IGPP complex while still others created the first digital seismograph and ocean-bottom seismograph there.