Innovation and Architecture on Display as SC Johnson Opens its Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Research Tower to Visitors for the First Time

Online Reservations Now Available; Tours are Free and Begin in May

Mar 24, 2014, 10:00 ET from SC Johnson

RACINE, Wis., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- This spring, for the first time ever, SC Johnson will open the doors of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower to the public. For 32 years, the Research Tower served as a hub of innovation and the birthplace to some of the world's most beloved household products, including Raid®, Glade® and Pledge®. Beginning today, visitors can make online reservations for free tours that include the Research Tower. The season's new tours begin on May 2 and run on Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 27, 2014.

"Frank Lloyd Wright's creative vision and iconic architecture have served as a source of inspiration for our business for more than 75 years," said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability. "There is no place that demonstrates this more than the Research Tower, where some of our leading brands were created, and we're eager to open it to the public for the first time."

In 1936, SC Johnson leader, H.F. Johnson, Jr., sought the expertise of Wright, and a legendary partnership began. Wright went on to design the company's Administration Building (1939) and the Research Tower (1950), and both buildings are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Further, in 1937, H.F. Johnson, Jr. also commissioned Wright to design a home for his family in Racine, Wis. Wingspread, described by Wright as "the last of the prairie houses," is now a conference center for The Johnson Foundation.

The Tower – A Beacon of Architectural Design and Product Innovation
The Research Tower is located at the heart of the company's global headquarters at its Howe Street campus in Racine, Wis., and it stands 153 feet high with 232 stairs that climb 15 stories.

Opened in 1950, the Tower was home to the company's research and development scientists. Within 10 years of the opening, scientists developed and introduced several of SC Johnson's most trusted products, including Raid® (1955), Glade® (1956), OFF!® (1957) and Pledge® (1958). Today, these iconic brands continue to be market leaders, and they are sold in nearly every country around the world.  

The 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. Frank Lloyd Wright coined the term "taproot" to describe the unique foundation to his design and in keeping with his overall vision for the SC Johnson campus as a whole. The "taproot" core bears a resemblance to the lily pad-like columns seen throughout the Administration Building.

While SC Johnson closed the facility in 1982, the company continued to light the Research Tower every night. The lights were turned off during an extensive 12-month restoration in 2013, which involved both exterior and interior updates. During the process, SC Johnson replaced 21,170 bricks and more than 5,800 Pyrex glass tubes that were used to construct the building's numerous windows. The company relit the Tower in late December 2013 after the final restoration of the original lighting scheme.

New Free Tours, Reservations Open Today
Tours include:

  • The Landmarks Tour The two-hour Landmark Tour is tailored for guests who would like an in-depth look at SC Johnson's inspired architecture, and the tour features the Wright-designed Administration Building, the Research Tower, the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, The SC Johnson Gallery and The Lily Pad, a gift shop that features exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items.

    While in the Research Tower, four main exhibit areas on two floors will provide visitors with an unprecedented look at one of Wright's most unique architectural achievements. Visitors will be taken back in time to experience how the Tower operated in its heyday with a full mock-up of a 1950s laboratory.

    The exhibits shine a new light on the innovations in research and development that emerged in the Tower and how the architecture stimulated the scientists' creativity and cutting-edge advancements. Drawings, archived photographs and correspondence between Wright and H.F. Johnson, Jr. will provide visitors with a rich overview of the Tower's origin, unique role in the company's history and its influence on the local community.
  • The Gallery Tour -- The Gallery Tour will take guests on a one-hour journey through the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright and The Lily Pad gift shop.

    A new exhibit at The Gallery, "The Two Taliesins," is the highlight of this tour. It will feature Taliesin, Wright's home and studio in Spring Green, Wis., and Taliesin West, his winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Ariz. Wright used both homes as laboratories where he could develop and test his architectural ideas. The exhibit will compare and contrast how Wright incorporated his signature and revolutionary "organic" design concepts into his own homes, each of which reflected the very different landscapes and climates in which they were built.

    Artifacts from Wright's Wisconsin and Arizona homes will be on display that simulate their natural settings and convey their significance to the Taliesin concept. The exhibit will also feature a collection of rare photos and videos that show Wright at home. In addition, visitors will learn about the central role that color played in Wright's designs of the Taliesins.

In addition to SC Johnson's tour offerings mentioned above, campus visitors have the opportunity to view films at the Golden Rondelle Theater, which was designed for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. The theater is currently presenting two films:

  • Carnauba: A Son's Memoir is a one-hour film that depicts Sam Johnson's 1998 recreation of his father's 1935 expedition from Racine, Wis., to Fortaleza, Brazil.
  • To Be Alive! is an Academy Award-winning 20-minute film commissioned by SC Johnson for the 1964-1965 World's Fair that celebrates the similarity of cultures around the world.

To receive more information about visiting SC Johnson's campus or to schedule a tour, please use the online scheduling tool at, call (262) 260-2154, or email

About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 128-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.


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