RACINE, Wis., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The doors of SC Johnson's Fortaleza Hall will open to employees tomorrow. A testament to SC Johnson's rich company history, the new building stands brightly next to the world famous Frank Lloyd Wright designs on the company's international headquarters. Spherical in shape and made primarily of glass, Fortaleza Hall houses a full-size twin-engine S-38 amphibious plane suspended to simulate it in flight which can be viewed by all passers-by.
"This building is intended to inspire us, to be a special place to remind us of our sense of adventure," said Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, the fifth generation leader of the company. "It is a symbol of our unique history of innovation, creativity and progressive attitude. My family wanted this to be a jewel for our community. Imagine a little boy or a little girl looking out a car window seeing that sight of the brightly colored S-38 amphibious plane soaring and in their minds being transported somewhere else by the adventure and romance of it all."
The Fortaleza Hall construction marks the first major new construction on the company's international headquarters since Frank Lloyd Wright first designed and developed the Administration Building and Great Workroom which opened in 1939 and the Research Tower which opened in 1950. The last new building to be brought to the campus was the Golden Rondelle in 1967. Originally built as a movie theatre for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, it was disassembled and brought to Racine where it was rebuilt.
Designed by world-renowned, London-based Foster + Partners, the building is a contemporary companion to the innovative designs that already exist on the headquarters campus and in the Racine community. It is the first structure designed by Foster in the Upper Midwest.
The new building offers visitors a chance to come together to learn more about the SC Johnson company and provides employees with a central place for company amenities. The 60,000 square foot facility, which broke ground in September 2007, has two distinct sections: Fortaleza Hall, which provides historical context for the company and the advances that continue to take place through displays and memorabilia, the Frank Lloyd Wright Library and Legacy Gallery; and a second part The Commons, which offers employee services like dining, concierge services, company store, bank and fitness center in a comfortable environment.
"Fortaleza Hall has given us a unique opportunity to work along side one of the finest Modern buildings in the world – The SC Johnson building – and to tell a remarkable story of adventure and discovery," said Norman Foster. "H. F. Johnson Jr.'s decision to commission Frank Lloyd Wright was an inspiring act of architectural patronage, as was the brief that we were given to design both Fortaleza Hall and its companion, The Commons. This project celebrates a family of architectural patrons, a remarkable company, a pioneering spirit and a historic journey."
Frank Lloyd Wright's creations draw more than 4,500 visitors to the SC Johnson campus each year. From the Hardy House and Keland House to Wingspread, the former home of the H. F. Johnson, Jr. family and now home to the Johnson Foundation, and the Petersen House, Racine's rich architectural history continues with another unique structure – Fortaleza Hall.
Honoring Generations Past; Inspiring the Future
The building honors the late Sam Johnson, the fourth generation leader of the company and Chairman Emeritus. The Johnson family wanted to find a way to honor Sam Johnson and his indelible mark on the growth and geographic expansion of the company while inspiring current employees and members of the community. Under Sam Johnson's leadership, the company created megabrand products like OFF!®, Raid®, Pledge® and Glade®. He led the charge on innovation with a sense of adventure.
The centerpiece of the construction is Fortaleza Hall, named for the Brazilian city that was at the heart of H. F. Johnson, Jr.'s 1935 expedition. H. F. Johnson Jr. set off in an amphibious plane to research the Carnauba palm and the wax it produces. Sam Johnson was inspired by this daring journey and in 1998 he retraced his father's steps in an exact replica of the plane named Carnauba. The 1998 expedition represented a commitment to company's legacy of visionary thinking and seizing new opportunities – a commitment that still holds true today and can be found in the walls and experiences of Fortaleza Hall.
As a reminder of this spirit of adventure today, Carnauba is on display in Fortaleza Hall. "This plane is an enduring symbol of courage, of adventure and preservation," said Fisk Johnson. "It is also a reminder that venturing into the unknown is often worth the risk."
What Sets Us Apart
The SC Johnson campus in Racine is well known for its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, a unique history that sets the company apart from others. As a family-led company, the foundation is built around the people that contribute to the company's success. The Commons was created for the people of SC Johnson. Building on one of our founding principles that the only enduring thing in business is the goodwill of people, The Commons is dedicated to improving the experiences of the employees while they are on the campus. It serves as the center of employee activity and includes a cafeteria, fitness center, company store and bank.
"We're a different kind of company," said Fisk Johnson. "As a family company we make decisions for the long-term not quarter to quarter, decisions that will be good for our families, for our community and the environment, for the next generation."
Fortaleza Hall offers visitors unique experiences. Several artists worked within the space to create an atmosphere that captures the company's culture, commitment to the environment and spirit of adventure. The experiences seek to inspire, motivate and renew the building's visitors. Highlights include:
- Vertical Garden – One of four permanent Blanc Vertical Garden walls in the U.S. developed with living plants; created by Patrick Blanc of Paris, France; 49 feet by 18 feet high and features 79 species of plants and nearly 2,500 total plants
- Polyconic mosaic map – Depicts the rich topography of the Western Hemisphere and traces Sam Johnson's journey from Racine to Brazil; created by John Yarema of Troy, Michigan; four different types of wood (black walnut, American cherry, maple and hornbeam) and 19,200 pieces of 3 inch by 3 inch blocks of wood
- Soundscape – Fortaleza comes to life with the sounds of Brazil, such as flora, fauna, street life and wildlife; the computer-operated sounds sync with the time of day and weather
- Legacy gallery – Hear Sam Johnson's stories; learn about Carnauba and the foundation on which SC Johnson is built – the values and principles that guide the company and the spirit of adventure and innovation
- Reflecting pool – Calm, serene water gently reflects the 24-glass tread monumental staircase and creates a nature-inspired setting
- The mural – The first installation of its kind in North America; features 8,000 square feet of precast white concrete with rasterized images of the Brazilian palm forest, recreated from a photo taken during H. F. Johnson Jr.'s 1935 expedition; concept designed by Ralph Applebaum Associates; wall created by International Concrete Products; graphics created by Graphic Concrete of Germantown, Wis.
- Carnauba plane – The replica twin-engine S-38 amphibious aircraft used by Sam Johnson and his sons in 1998 built by Born Again Restorations, Owatonna, Minn.
- Compass benches – Made of U.S. black walnut with the expedition stops of the journey raised on the front; created by John Houshmand of New York
- Frank Lloyd Wright Library and Reading Room – The first library of its kind in southeastern Wisconsin; browse through hundreds of books, documents, drawings, correspondence, videos, blueprints and DVDs to better understand one of America's most well known architects
For more information about these experiences and the building, visit SC Johnson's Press Room at http://scjohnson.com/en/press-room/overview.aspx
Fortaleza Hall is open to the public and invites visitors to tour the building. Tours of Fortaleza Hall will run on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year.
- Fridays, beginning Feb. 12 – April 30: 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Fridays, May 7 – Oct. 29: 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Fridays, Nov. 5 – March 25, 2011: 9:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.
- Saturdays, beginning Feb. 13 – May 1: 11 a.m., 1 p.m.
- Saturdays, May 8 – Oct. 30: 10 a.m., and 1:15 p.m.
Tours are free of charge. Visitors are also welcome to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on campus on Fridays. Reservations for tours are required.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Library and Reading Room will also be available to visitors 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., with reservations and based upon availability.
To make a reservation, call 262-260-2154 or email Rondelle@scj.com
SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business 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, and insect control. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, ECHO®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, and MR. MUSCLE®. The 124-year old company, with more than $8 billion in sales, employs approximately 12,000 people globally and sells products in nearly every country. www.scjohnson.com
SOURCE SC Johnson