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Scripps Oceanography Open House

03/07/2020 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
8630 Kennel Way, La Jolla, CA 92037, US
Event Description: 
Scripps Institution of Oceanography is pleased to be taking part in the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House weekend event, OH! San Diego. On Saturday, March 7 from 10AM-4PM the public will have some unique opportunities to tour Scripps Oceanography, including the pier and several buildings not normally open to the public.
Guided tours including Scripps Pier will be offered hourly. Check-in for tours is at Pawka Green, located near the Old Scripps Building: 8630 Kennel Way, La Jolla 92037.
This is a drop-in event, no RSVP needed.
Parking at Scripps is by permit only. (Purchase from pay station in Lot P003 – use Kennel Way entrance from El Paseo Grande, off La Jolla Shores Dr.) Free parking is available on nearby surface streets.
Founded in 1903, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego features a dozen architecturally and historically significant structures on its 170-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From the Irving Gill designed 1910 George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory, to the Mid-century Modern classic IGPP Munk Laboratory, to contemporary additions, Scripps' rich history and mission to teach and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans and atmosphere, is on display at every turn.

The following campus buildings will be open with staff available to answer questions:


8630 Kennel Way


The first building on the Scripps campus is named for George H Scripps, the younger brother of Ellen Browning Scripps. Early on, it housed a public aquarium, research laboratories, offices and the residence of the institution’s founder and first director, William Emerson Ritter, and his wife, physician Mary Elizabeth Bennett Ritter. Designated a San Diego Historic Site in 1977, Old Scripps became a National Landmark in 1982. Today it contains administrative offices and meeting rooms, some featuring artifacts of Scripps history.

(Irving Gill, 1910)


8648 Kennel Way

SAT 10:30AM–3:30PM

Named for the most significant donor to the institution in its formative years, the 1,084-foot-long reinforced-concrete pier replaced the original wooden pier built in 1915. Data about ocean conditions have been recorded from the pier continuously since 1916, providing an unparalleled source of information on the coastal Pacific Ocean. Walk to the pumphouse at the end of the pier where the seawater supply for Birch Aquarium originates and see where small boats are launched for scientific diving operations.

(Ferver Engineering, 1988)


2130 Naga Way

SAT 11:00AM–1PM

Originally constructed in 1963, the concrete base of this building was originally a test facility for converting seawater to freshwater. It was converted to labs and offices with the addition of the upper level in 1973 to become the Center for Coastal Studies. For more than 55 years it has been home to Scripps scientists who study physical processes of the ocean and beaches, including coastal erosion, shoreline pollution transport and sea-level rise. The building was completely renovated in 2019-20 and will soon reopen to researchers.

(Risley & Gould, 1963; Miller Hull Partnership, 2020)


8670 Naga Lane


Ellen Browning Scripps provided funds to build this two-story Craftsman-style redwood bungalow as a home for the institution’s director. The Ritters moved into it in December 1913, and made it their home until Dr. Ritter’s retirement in 1923. Subsequent directors T. Wayland Vaughan and Harald U. Sverdrup and their families occupied the house through 1948. The house was converted to office space in 1954 and today provides space for a faculty lounge and visiting scientists. It recently underwent a historic renovation.

(Julia Morgan, modified by Dr. Mary Ritter, 1913)


8755 Biological Grade

SAT 11:30AM–3PM

Named for Carl Henry Eckart, director of Scripps from 1948–1950, this three-story reinforced concrete building served for 37 years as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library and Archives. In 2012 the collections and services were consolidated into Geisel Library on the main UCSD campus. The Eckart building is currently occupied by the graduate, undergraduate, and master of advanced studies programs, and Scripps Information Technology offices.

(Liebhardt & Watson, 1975)


8800 Biological Grade

SAT 11:30AM–2PM Dance Performances at 12PM & 1PM

Scripps scientist Walter Munk, and his wife, architect Judith Horton Munk, worked with Lloyd Ruocco, one of San Diego most renowned architects, in designing this iconic redwood and glass structure perched on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The laboratory has supported decades of important geophysical research, including projects such as the global network of seismometers that measures earth movements throughout the world. It is also beloved and appreciated today for its Mid-century Modern style and surrounding historic landscape.

(Lloyd Ruocco, 1964)

For more information on this event, contact: 
Ken Hall
(858) 822-1312
Event Calendar: 
Scripps Public Tours