RACINE, Wis., May 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, for the first time ever, SC Johnson opens 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 Glade®, OFF!®, Pledge® and Raid®. Visitors can make reservations online for the free tours that open today, May 2, and run on an expanded schedule through Sept. 28, 2014.
"The response to the Research Tower opening has been overwhelming and we're thrilled to announce the expanded tour schedule," said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability. "The Research Tower is a rich addition to our current tour program. For the first time, visitors can have a first-hand look at the incredible architecture, the relationship between Wright and SC Johnson and how some of our most beloved brands came to life."
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 (opened in 1939) and the Research Tower (opened in 1950). Both buildings are now on the National Register of Historic Places. The long-standing relationship between Johnson and Wright marked a significant moment in time in Wright's career that greatly advanced the field of business architecture.
"It's deeply exciting for the public to be able to visit the Research Tower as Wright created it," said Sean Malone, CEO of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. "Visiting the Tower is a visceral experience and is only made possible because of SC Johnson's extraordinary stewardship of this international architectural treasure. What SC Johnson has accomplished over the last five years, with the preservation of both the Research Tower and the Administration Building, is truly inspirational – and will have a profound impact on the local and global community for decades to come."
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 its 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.
Research Tower Historical & Restoration Facts
- 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.
- Approximately 22,000 bricks were restored and replaced throughout the restoration process.
- When the Tower 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.
- During the Tower restoration, the third floor and mezzanine level, including the cabinets, were painted Cherokee red, the signature Wright-SC Johnson color and original paint color.
- Although the Administration Building and the Research Tower were separate commissions, as part of the Research Tower project, Wright created a connection to the Administration Building.
New Landmarks Tour, Expanded to Include More Dates and Times
The two-hour Landmarks Tour is tailored for guests who would like an in-depth look at SC Johnson's inspired architecture. 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 provide visitors with an unprecedented look at one of Wright's most unique architectural achievements. Visitors are 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. 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.
This tour will also offer visitors a look at a new exhibit at The Gallery, "The Two Taliesins." This exhibit features Taliesin, Wright's home and studio in Spring Green, Wis., and Taliesin West, his winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Ariz. The exhibit compares and contrasts 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 are on display, simulating their natural settings and conveying their significance to the Taliesin concept. The exhibit also features a collection of rare photos and videos that show Wright at home.
In addition to the Landmarks Tour, 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 learn more about the iconic Research Tower, the new exhibit at The Gallery and Frank Lloyd Wright's unique history with SC Johnson, please see here.
*The Research Tower is accessible only via stairs. If you have a special need, please contact the reservation office at 262-260-2154 or email Tours@scj.com prior to your visit.
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. www.scjohnson.com
SOURCE SC Johnson