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Wright's S.C. Johnson Research Tower, open for tours

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I remember back in the middle 60s when I was a smiley-faced, impressionable and enthusiastic young architecture student and studied about the design architects who forged the way for today’s modern architecture design movement. One name everyone mentioned then and still do today was Frank Lloyd Wright, historic pioneer of the times in the architecture profession.

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Most architects and historic architecture afficiados frequently cite Frank Lloyd Wright and Fallingwater, his design of the Edgar Kauffman residence in Pennsylvania as their favorite and most influential of his “Organic Architecture” design example.

But one of my design favorites of the Frank Lloyd Wright period was one of the few commercial tower structures that he conceived and brought to modern design fruition. The Johnson Office Tower in Wisconsin, still in functional use in day. And with a great benefit for modern architecture lovers.

SC Johnson Research Tower now open for free tours

The Frank Lloyd Wright-engineered and designed SC Johnson Research Tower in Racine, Wis., is now open for free public tours for the first time through Sept. 27 after completion of a year-long restoration. Completed in 1950, the facility is where products such as Raid, Glad, OFF! and Pledge were developed. It was closed in 1982 and later renovated up to modern codes to its current state after gaining National Register of Historic Places status in 1976.

Innovative column designs

The 15-story office tower is known for its treelike interior floors supported by a central taproot-like foundation buried deep into the earth. The structures’ exhibit areas record the building's development with archival photos and correspondence. Some of what you will see are pictures of the loading of the mock column on site that Wright used to demonstrate that his innovative column design was indeed structurally sound. Another exhibit features a full-size model of a circa-1950s research lab.

Plan a vacation around the Tower

A great example of Frank Lloyd Wright and his modern designs still in use today is well worth a summer vacation visit.

For more Information call: 262-260-2154; or visit scjohnson.com/visit

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