sc johnson
scjohnson
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wright at the time
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sc johnson

right’s social vision of the sanctity of labor and his penchant for technological vision of material innovation intersected, again, in the building complex he designed for S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., beginning in 1936. The first phase of the project was the Administration Building, completed in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1939.

Eleven years later Wright built the company’s Research Laboratory Tower. Both projects illustrate Wright’s integration of the technological and experiential dimensions of architecture. The Administration Building is entered through a sequence of low, dim spaces from which one emerges into a grandly-scaled room lit from above. Sunlight filters into the space through bundled planes of glass pyrex tubes, which allude to the company’s investment in chemical research. Where conventional buildings would have had a heavy cornice, Wright bridged the gap between wall and roof with a continuous band of glass. The effect of the filtered daylight is one of wondrous luminosity, which transforms the ordinary workspace into a kind of sanctuary.