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Administration Building and Research Tower, S.C. Johnson Company

Racine, Wisconsin
County of Racine.
1525 Howe Street
National Register Number: 74002275
Resource type: Building.
Property type: Commerce/Trade - business. The threat level was Watch in
2004.
Congressional District: WI-1 Certified Local Government: NO
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Current use/information: Administrative offices..

Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 7, 1976):
Frank Lloyd Wright's Depression-era design for the Johnson Wax Company's Administration Building and Research Tower was so radical that local building commissioners refused to approve it without a test. At issue were Wright's novel "mushroom" columns, intended to carry loads varying from 2 to 12 tons. When a sample was built and withstood a load of 60 tons, the permit was granted. One of three notable commissions executed by the architect during the Depression, these structures employ a highly original system of cantilever-slab construction in a classic of modern office design. Frank Lloyd Wright's imaginative approach to structure is seen in his use of rounded "organic" forms, and in the T-shaped columns and "tree-like" tower. The complex, which opened in 1939, continues to serve its original functions, and still contains original furnishings that Wright designed. Widely published, it was recognized for its importance even before it was completed, and helped the architect to gain a number of commissions.

A corner section of glass tubes on the 7th floor NW corner got sucked out during a large wind storm. It was immediately secured and has been put back in place. The Kasota stone ledge that the glass tubes sit on was being pulled out in various corners and sides. Steel plates and anchor bolts have been installed on all Kasota stones on all floors to secure them in place to eliminate future problems. Other recent projects included the replacement of the cypress terrace patio, tuck-pointing and cleaning of exterior brick, and painting of interior walls. The HVAC system was replaced in 2004.


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