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Gallery and Studio / Johnsen Schmaling Architects

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AD Classics: SC Johnson Wax Research Tower / Frank Lloyd Wright

This article was originally published on September 8,2014. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

The next time you catch the scent of a Glade air freshener or evade pesky mosquitoes thanks to Off!, think of Frank Lloyd Wright. His 1950 building for the SC Johnson Research Tower at their headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, was home to the invention of many of their landmark products.

View of tower during construction. Image © SC JohnsonGrand skylight above reception area of advertising department. Image © Ezra Stoller/EstoSection and ElevationPreliminary perspective view in which tower tapers towards the base+ 34

Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Research Tower to Be Restored

Partially credited to the spotlight cast by MoMA’s "Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal" exhibition, SC Johnson (SCJ) has agreed to restore their 15-story Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower as a museum and corporate office in Racine, Wisconsin. Wright’s only constructed taproot-core, the 1950s tower is “an inspiring example of cantilever construction with an inner core extending 50 feet into the ground that provides support for the 16 million pound structure,” described SCJ. “The taproot core bears a strong resemblance to the lily pad-like columns seen throughout SC Johnson’s Administration Building, another Wright-designed facility.”

OS House / Johnsen Schmaling Architects

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SC Johnson to Exhibit Frank Lloyd Wright Wright Artifacts

Johnson Wax Headquarters (exterior), Racine, Wisconsin. Photo by Jack E. Boucher, National Park Service,August, 1969.
Johnson Wax Headquarters (exterior), Racine, Wisconsin. Photo by Jack E. Boucher, National Park Service,August, 1969.

SC Johnson and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation entered into a long-term loan agreement on July 14, allowing the company to display artifacts highlighting Wright’s impact on families and the home. The agreement is an exciting addition to the wealth of Frank Lloyd Wright-related sites around Chicago, but raises questions about Wright’s place in popular conceptions of architectural history.

AD Classics: S.C. Johnson and Son Administration Building / Frank Lloyd Wright

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