Spotlight on Innovation: SC Johnson Research Tower is a Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright's Designs
RACINE, WI On June 8, the 150th birthday of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright will be celebrated, and design enthusiasts around the world are preparing for special events to commemorate and honor one of America's most innovative architects.
Less than an hour from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the SC Johnson world headquarters is home to two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildingsthe Administration Building (opened in 1939) and the Research Tower (opened in 1950). Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and open to the public for free tours.
The 15-story Research Tower is the birthplace of some of the company's most iconic, trusted brands; like Raid®, Glade®, Pledge® and OFF!®. While it hasn't been in active use for 30 years, the Research Tower still remains a visible reminder of the great spirit of innovation that continues to drive the company.
The Research Tower went through an extensive 12-month restoration, which involved both exterior and interior updates. The Research Tower was opened for free public tours.
More than 7,000 Pyrex glass tubes are featured throughout the Tower to construct the building's numerous windows. If the glass tubes in the Tower were laid end to end they would span 17 miles, roughly the size of 586 stacked Research Towers.
When it opened, there was nothing in place to shade the building from light. It is said that it was so bright in the early days that scientists were issued sunglasses until window shades could be installed.
There are 15 stories and 232 stairs. The Tower consists of a series of square floors accompanied by round mezzanine levels. The mezzanine levels were not enclosed, which allowed for easier communication between the scientists.
The Research Tower is one of the tallest structures ever built on the cantilever principle. It stands 153 feet tall and its central core, which is 13 feet in diameter, extends 54 feet into the ground. All 15 floors of the Research Tower are supported by the "taproot" core; much like a tree supports its branches.
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, Wisconsin.
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 in 2017.