Architecture Masterpiece Opens to the Public Wright Up the Road

Wingspread, courtesy of S.C. Johnson

Set in a 30-acre property with a wooded ravine and a series of ponds and lagoons, Wingspread's footprint makes it the largest of the Prairie Houses.

In May of this year, we brought you the news that for the first time in its 64-year history, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower on the  S.C. Johnson & Company campus in Racine, Wisconsin is now open for public tours.  Even if you don't have a full appreciation of Mr. Wright or art deco design, it's a fantastic thing to see.  From the meticulously restored laboratories filled with period instruments from the company archives and scavenged from eBay, to the 15-story balancing act that is an office building with floors cantilevered off of a central axis like a LEGO pine tree.

Wingspread, courtesy of S.C. Johnson

The main chimney is complemented by expanses of oak veneer, and bathed in the light from overhead and from the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the Great Room at Wingspread.

Now there's even more good news.  In addition to being able to tour Wright's Research Tower, it is not possible to tour Wingspread, the private home-turned-conference center he designed for H.F. Johnson, Junior.  Wingspread gets its name from the four wings that spread from the home's central living area.  It is 14,000 square feet, and features a 30-foot-tall central chimney servicing five fireplaces, more than 500 windows, and a glass-enclosed observation tower built for Johnson's kids.

Like the other architecture tour at the S.C. Johnson corporate campus, reservations are required, but the tour is free, and worth the 45 minute drive from The Loop.  Wingspread is about five miles north of the main Johnson complex.  See the press release after the photo gallery for more information.

Wingspread, courtesy of S.C. Johnson

The use of Kasota limestone, brick, stucco and unstained wood in Wingspread help anchor the house to the earth, while its 30-foot-high chimney and many windows and skylight lift it toward the sky.

 

 

 

SC Johnson Free Tour Program Soars: Now Includes Acclaimed Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Wingspread Home

 Tours Also Expanded Due to Overwhelming Demand, Dates Extended Through December

RACINE, Wis. – Visitors to SC Johnson’s Racine campus can now add another historic gem to their Frank Lloyd Wright tour schedule. The company announced today that it is partnering with the Johnson Foundation to expand its tour offering to include Wingspread, the remarkable home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Herbert Fisk (H. F.) Johnson Jr., the third generation leader of SC Johnson, and his family. Visitors can make reservations online for the free tours.

“Wingspread has special significance for my family and I’m pleased to add it to our visitor program. For me, these structures are so much more than just buildings, they are a constant reminder of some of the bold choices my grandfather made,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, SC Johnson. “Wright’s buildings are great architectural masterpieces and we feel a great responsibility to share his incredible work with the world.”

SC Johnson also has extended its tour schedule, which includes the Landmarks Tour highlighting the iconic SC Johnson Research Tower, through the end of the year to accommodate the increased demand over the holiday season.

Wondrous Wingspread

In 1936, in addition to commissioning the new SC Johnson Administration Building in Racine, H. F. Johnson Jr. gave Frank Lloyd Wright a more personal task – to design a new house for his family. Wingspread, named for the four wings that spread out from its central core living space, was completed in 1939.

The Johnson family lived at Wingspread through the 1950s. On June 24, 1961, the home was formally dedicated to The Johnson Foundation to be used as a conference center. In 1989, Wingspread was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

“We are excited to partner with SC Johnson to include the renowned Wingspread home in their free tour program and give Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts a chance to experience the wonders of this historical landmark,” said Roger C. Dower, President, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread.

Touring Wingspread

Wingspread balances grand spaces for social gatherings with smaller, more intimate spaces in the bedroom wings. Tour highlights include the disappearing dining table, the teepee-inspired clerestory ceiling and brick central core in the great room, and the cantilevered Romeo and Juliet balcony bedroom. Visitors will also be able to climb the spiral staircase to the children’s glass-enclosed crow’s nest and sit on the Frank Lloyd Wright furniture that adorns the house.

Wright called Wingspread “the last of the Prairie houses,” and its 14,000-square-foot footprint makes it the largest of the Prairie homes as well. An array of windows and skylights flood Wingspread with natural light and beautiful views of the sky and surrounding landscape. The grounds feature 36 acres of forests, prairies, walking trails and streams.

Touring Wright’s Masterpieces at SC Johnson

SC Johnson offers guests an in-depth, comprehensive look at the company’s inspired architecture at its Racine headquarters. The two-hour Landmarks Tour includes the Wright-designed Administration Building and Research Tower, and the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall. Guests will also have an opportunity to visit The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright and The Lily Pad, a gift shop that features exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items.

Earlier this year, SC Johnson opened the doors of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower to the public for the first time ever. 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®. The tour also shares how the Tower’s architecture stimulated the creativity and cutting-edge advancements of SC Johnson’s scientists.

SC Johnson’s new extended schedule and Wingspread tours can be booked online atwww.scjohnson.com/visit or via phone at 262-260-2154.

See More Wright

A visit to Racine also offers a unique opportunity to see a number of other architectural gems. The city sits within the 220-mile span between Oak Park, Illinois, and Spring Green, Wisconsin. Additional works of architectural importance in this area include: Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and architectural laboratory in Spring Green, Wis.; The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois; The Robie House in Chicago; American System-Built homes in the Burnham Street Historic District, Milwaukee; and The Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin.

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

About The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread

The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for change by bringing together leading thinkers and inspiring new solutions on major environmental and regional issues. For additional information or to learn more about The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, please visit www.johnsonfdn.org.

Editor's Note: All images in this article are courtesy of S.C. Johnson

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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