Restoring the SC Johnson Research Tower

Text and photos by Mark Hertzberg / Photos used with permission of SC Johnson

     The SC Johnson Research Tower is still enveloped in scaffolding, from top to bottom, as workers carefully clean and, in many cases replace, the 17.5 miles of glass tube windows that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the building. The Tower opened in November, 1950, and closed in 1981 when research and development was consolidated in the nearby former St. Mary’s Hospital building. The work is in preparation for next year’s reopening of two floors (3 Main and 3 Mezz or Mezzanine) for tours.

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     Countless publicly-traded companies might have demolished a building like the Research Tower rather than let it stand vacant for more years than it was open. But not SC Johnson. The Johnson family and the company recognize that the Tower stands as a symbol of SC Johnson’s commitment to creative thinking. Indeed, the Tower is still lit at night. 

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Each section of glass is fitted back into the original hardware, and fastened as Wright instructed. It is carefully caulked and cleaned, as well.

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One thought on “Restoring the SC Johnson Research Tower

  1. Exciting! Johnson Wax is really to be commended for it’s extraordinary (and doubtless very expensive) commitment to it’s Wright buildings. Compare that with publicly traded Wells Fargo, which threw it’s Sullivan bank in Iowa under the bus after it was flooded.

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