Judith Munk, 81; artist, designer
by Adriane Tillman
Published - 06/22/06 - 01:50 PM | 2844 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judith Munk swept Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) with her architectural, artistic and preservationist brilliance, as well with her grace and charm.

Munk was instrumental in the design and planning of the Scripps Seaside Forum, a meeting center that plans to draw scientists from around the world to discuss the globe's environment. Awards have already been bestowed upon the building for its design.

"She probably worked more closely with the architects than any other person associated with Scripps," said Tom Collins, who has worked in long-range physical planning for 23 years.

Munk died on May 19 from pneumonia at Scripps Memorial Hospital. She was 81 years old.

She was actively involved in designing the old and new geophysics and planetary physics laboratories. She conceptualized what is now called the Judith and Walter Munk Laboratory and approached architect Lloyd Ruocco to design the building.

Working with conventional materials and traditional forms, her work has been described as international in style with consideration for the surrounding environment of canyons and ocean cliff terraces. Scripps Crossing, which connects the west and east sections of the campus, also emerged under the weight of Munk's architectural influence and personal support. The bridge is symbolic of Munk's desire and knack for connecting the old San Diego, SIO and the university.

The campus' first cottages also didn't escape Munk's architectural passion. She was the design force in the effort to restore the old director's house that was built in 1913.

As a sculptor, Munk created a bust of SIO's former director, Ed Friedman, and a relief sculpture of Roger Revelle, the father of the University of California, San Diego. She began sculpting at the age of 7 and was a student sculptor of Donal Hord, whose pieces decorate the downtown public library, county administration building and Balboa Park. Married for nearly 53 years to Walter Munk, one of the world's most famous living oceanographers, the pair constantly welcomed a stream of colleagues, prospective staff, students, family and friends into their home. The home's proximity to Scripps gave them the perspective of "living above the store," Walter said.

The home's backyard "folly" amphitheater, once intended for lower Girard Avenue, provided a stage for theatrical and artistic endeavors.

"(The home was) very eclectic and beautiful and definitely reflects a design style and creativity that really reflects Judy's personality," Collins said.

The couple also traveled the globe on expeditions and scientific visits. Sabbaticals were taken in England, visits to China and a cross-country expedition was made across the Soviet Union. Munk is survived by her husband, Walter; daughters Edie and Kendall; a sister, Amanda Stork; brothers Edward Everette and Winter Davis;, and grandsons Walter, Luc and Max.

A celebration of Munk's life will take place on Sunday, June 25 outside SIO's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, 8602 La Jolla Shores Drive.

For more information call (858) 534-3948.In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Scripps Seaside Forum. Checks can be made to "UC Regents-Scripps Forum Project" and sent to Edwina Riblet at SIO, 9500 Gilman Drive-MC 0210, La Jolla, CA 92093-0210.
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