UC San Diego asks $5.5 million for La Jolla home of late oceanographer Walter Munk

The late Walter Munk’s landscaped house, Seiche, is in La Jolla Shores.

UC San Diego has listed Seiche, the La Jolla compound built and owned by late oceanographer Walter Munk, for sale for $5.5 million.

Munk — who died in 2019 at age 101 — was a scientist and explorer known for his research on wind and waves at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which eventually earned him the nickname “Einstein of the Oceans.”

He completed the home in 1954 and decided to donate it to the university in 2014. The name Seiche means a standing wave in a body of water.

The property at 9530 La Jolla Shores Drive includes a main house, guesthouse and small amphitheater overlooking the ocean. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in July, and later that month, the school announced its intent to sell it.

Midcentury in style, the residence features open-concept spaces lined with wood beams and steel-framed windows looking toward the coast. A sunlit foyer kicks things off, leading to a wood-covered kitchen and scenic dining room.

Elsewhere are six bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms in roughly 3,500 square feet, including a primary suite with dramatic arched windows and a second-story guest suite colored by leafy murals. A patio wraps across the back of the property, stopping by a swimming pool and sunken garden.

In July, UCSD spokeswoman Lauren Fimbres Wood told the La Jolla Light that proceeds from the sale would be distributed equally among the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Foundation for Earth Sciences, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Kyoto/Munk Fund. ◆