SC Johnson Wax Company Headquarters - Little Building Co. Model Set
Frank Lloyd Wright was almost 60 when he was approached by Herbert Johnson, the president of S.C. Johnson & Sons, to build a new headquarters for the company in Racine, Wisconsin.
The building features Wright's interpretation of the modern streamline (Streamline Moderne) style of the 1930s. Unlike his earlier Prairie School structures, the building features many sweeping curved forms. This began Wright's transition to a more curvilinear style as exemplified by his NYC Guggenheim Museum of the 1950's
The Administration Building was built between 1936-1939 and the Research Tower between 1944-1950.
The completed complex helped promote SC Johnson internationally as a forward-thinking company and symbolized the quality of their products, their work environment, and philosophy. The complex was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Both the Administration Building and Research Tower, built a decade apart, proved the viability of new construction techniques while successfully mimicking the natural forms Wright loved.
This Model Kit:
The horizontal main building model is constructed of a mix of light and dark woods, highlighting the interplay between the unique brick and stone shapes. The tower incorporates clear elements to mirror the building’s unique glass tubing. Careful adherence to the architect’s design ensures your completed model will be as stunningly beautiful and iconic as the original.
Beautifully boxed, the Johnson Wax HQ kit comes with clear, easy to follow instructions. It is a unique and thoughtful gift for a history buff, for fans of architecture, or anyone who appreciates America’s industrial ingenuity.
The Johnson Wax HQ model kit offers the recipient more building experience. With step-by-step instructions and detailed illustrations, the assembly process is interesting and enjoyable. You can feel confident in presenting this kit as a gift to either an eager novice or an experienced model builder.
Each kit comes complete with all required parts and clear, easy to follow instructions. All you’ll need to provide is a good quality wood glue, a knife to remove individual parts from their sheets, and a flat work surface to construct the model.
Materials: Aspen, American Cherry, MDF, steel, and acrylic
— Scale: 1:500
— Pieces: 167
— Recommended Age: 15 & Up
— Difficulty Level: Beginner
— Assembly Time: 5 Hours
— Completed Dimensions: 11.75"L x 8.25"W x 3.5"H
More about the Johnson Wax HQ
The resulting building is famous for its "lily pad" interior columns and open workspace. Wright encountered opposition from the Wisconsin Industrial Commission over the strength of the design’s slender, reinforced concrete columns (the iconic lily pads). To appease the Commission a full-size sample column was built on site and tested by applying a load of twelve tons. The test quickly became a spectacle with inspectors, contractors, students from Taliesin and the client lined up beside the architect. The tower was loaded with sandbags, sand and pig iron to well in excess of the twelve tons required. The column was carrying in excess of sixty tons – five times the design load - when Wright ordered it to be demolished.
The Research Tower is another feat of engineering. Supported by a 54-foot taproot foundation the trunk supports the floors which are cantilevered off a central structure. The Pyrex tube glazing is in turn supported between the floor slabs supported by an aluminum frame and sealed with gaskets between each tube.
Wright’s focus went beyond the building’s structure. He planned more than 40 different pieces of furniture for the Administration Building that would reflect aspects of the building's unique design and also encourage productivity. The rolling file carts, for example, could be moved around easily – gliding almost silently under the “lily pad” ceiling of the Great Workroom.
Despite cost overruns (originally budgeted at $200,000, final cost on the complex tallied more than $900,000) Johnson remained a great fan of Wright. After having the architect design his company’s complex, he asked Wright to create his home as well. Wingspread, the 14,000 square foot Prairie style home, is about 5 miles north of the company’s Racine campus.
The Johnson Wax HQ is a National Historic Landmark.