Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

1525 Howe St.

National or State Register of Historic Places
1525 Howe St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Johnson, S.C., and Son Administration Building and Research Tower
Reference Number:74002275
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):1525 Howe St.
County:Racine
City/Village:Racine
Township:
SUMMARY
S. C. JOHNSON ADMINISTRATION & RESEARCH BUILDING
1525 Howe Street, Racine, Racine County
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright, Wesley W. Peters
Date of Construction: 1936-39; 1947

In 1936 Frank Lloyd Wright's innovative design for S.C. Johnson's international headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin rekindled his flagging career and cemented his position as America's leading architect. Using an original system of cantilever-slab construction, Wright along with son-in-law engineer, Wesley W. Peters, constructed the S.C. Johnson Administrative building out of brick and glass using the circle shape as the unifying element.

Completed in 1939, the S.C. Johnson Administrative building is lit by skylights and two wide bands of translucent tubing, encircling it just below the roofline and a few feet above eye level. The main office area is a single large room. The roof of this open plan space is supported by Wright┬┐s famous "lily pad" columns standing 22 feet high on 9 inch diameter bases.

In 1947 Wright designed a companion 14-story research tower. This building was the first to be constructed using no visible support under the outer walls. The floors are of alternating round and square concrete slabs jutting out from a hollow central core containing an elevator, stairway and utility infrastructure. The outer glass shell is hung from every other floor slab. This shell, like that of the original administration building, is formed of glass tubes laid up like exterior brickwork. Wright connected the administration building to the research tower with a bridge enclosed entirely with glass tubing and plate glass. The S.C. Johnson Administration building and Research Tower is still owned and occupied by Johnson Wax, Inc.

The administration building is open for tours by reservation only.

PROPERTY FEATURES
Period of Significance:1936-1947
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Education: Research Facility
Historic Use:Commerce/Trade: Professional
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Architectural Style:Other
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Peters,Wesley W.
Architect:Wright,Frank Lloyd
DESIGNATIONS
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:National Historic Landmark Status Granted
National Historic Landmark Listing Date:Wed Jan 07 00:00:00 UTC 1976
National Register Listing Date:12/27/1974
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
NUMBER OF RESOURCES WITHIN PROPERTY
Number of Contributing Buildings:2
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
RECORD LOCATION
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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