SC Johnson Headquarters, Racine

4.8
#1 of 10 in Things to do in Racine
Johnson Wax Headquarters is the world headquarters and administration building of S. C. Johnson & Son in Racine, Wisconsin. Designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the company's president, Herbert F. "Hib" Johnson, the building was constructed from 1936 to 1939. Also known as the Johnson Wax Administration Building, it and the nearby 14-story Johnson Wax Research Tower (built 1944–1950) were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976 as Administration Building and Research Tower, S.C. Johnson and Son.DesignThe Johnson Wax Headquarters were set in an industrial zone and Wright decided to create a sealed environment lit from above, as he had done with the Larkin Administration Building. The building features Wright's interpretation of the streamlined Art Moderne style popular in the 1930s. In a break with Wright's earlier Prairie School structures, the building features many curvilinear forms and subsequently required over 200 different curved "Cherokee red" bricks to create the sweeping curves of the interior and exterior. The mortar between the bricks is raked in traditional Wright-style to accentuate the horizontality of the building. The warm, reddish hue of the bricks was used in the polished concrete floor slab as well; the white stone trim and white dendriform columns create a subtle yet striking contrast. All of the furniture, manufactured by Steelcase, was designed for the building by Wright and it mirrored many of the building's unique design features.
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  • Only when a trial column a load of 60 tons was found to endure, if Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 embark on the implementation of this particular project. The round forms everywhere, both inside and outside. Shooting is strictly prohibited, but the image of the "... circular disks as leaves of the Victoria Regia between refractory glass tubes seem to float" you will always remain. Visit by appointment only.
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  • Wonderful (free) tour of the original building and then the newer "museum" space. Just amazing to think of the innovation that went into the structure. A trip down memory lane for those of us who reme...  more »
  • Like many people who have studied Frank Lloyd Wright, and/or have seen PBS documentaries about him, a tour of the SC Johnson Headquarters buildings have been on my bucket list for many years. I have b...  more »

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