SC Johnson, the maker of trusted brands like Glade, Raid, Scrubbing Bubbles and Ziploc, is home to two buildings designed by celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
On the campus of SC Johnson's world headquarters in Racine, the Administration Building and the Research Tower are both on the National Register of Historic Places and open to the public for free tours.
Celebrated as one of the top 25 buildings of the 20th century, the SC Johnson Administration Building features several never-before-seen architectural innovations by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Administration Building was opened in 1939, followed by the Research Tower, which opened in 1950.
The building features more than one-half acre of open workspace in the Great Workroom and circular "bird cage" elevators that run from the basement to the Penthouse level giving a panoramic view of the building.
The original cost of the Administration Building was $1.2 million. However, Wright originally told Johnson he could design the Administration Building for $200,000.
The SC Johnson Administration Building is celebrated as one of the greatest work spaces and is the only Wright-designed commercial building still in daily use today. From its 43 miles of Pyrex glass tubing to the dendriform columns soaring in the Great Workroom, it is truly a unique work of art that reflects the innovation and adventure that are still the spirit of SC Johnson today.
The focal point of this building is the dendriform columns. Wright called the columns "dendriform," meaning tree-shaped. Because of their unique design, they are also called mushrooms, golf tees or lily pads. These columns were revolutionary in design because the base has a diameter of only nine inches, as compared to the top's diameter of 18½ feet. Wright designed each column to support a weight of 12 tons according to The Wisconsin Industrial Commission's requirements. During the test of a column, it actually held five times that before showing signs of cracking.
Wright also designed more than 40 different pieces of furniture for the Administration Building, each created to reflect aspects of the building's overall design.
The Johnson family's commitment to innovation and Frank Lloyd Wright's visionary design have gone hand in hand for nearly 80 years. At our campus, visitors can experience a rich history of exploration and innovation in architecture that has drawn increasing global interest.
In 2016, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail was established, connecting many of Wright's architectural sites across Wisconsin to make it easier for tourists from around the globe to experience and enjoy Wright's legacy in his home state. The Trail includes five stops between Racine and Spring Green, Wis.
SC Johnson will be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial and is providing $2.5 million for the event. The Biennial is an international exhibition of contemporary architecture drawing participants from more than 30 countries. More than 500,000 architecture professionals, students, and cultural enthusiasts from around the world attended the 2015 Biennial, and SC Johnson will again be offering free tours of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings during the run of the event. The Biennial will take place from September 16 through December 31, 2017.
SC Johnson welcomes visitors to experience our Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings Thursday through Sunday. While the tours are free, reservations are required.