Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower was lit all night for winter solstice and will open to public viewing from 2014

Published on : Monday, December 23, 2013

Tower Test ShotsSC Johnson relit its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower on the day of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. The tower will soon open for public tours for the first time in its history. The historic tower, open from 1950 to 1982, served as the creative inspiration and birthplace for the company’s leading brands and products including Raid, Glade, OFF and Pledge.

“The Research Tower has long stood as a beacon of not only light, but innovation, symbolizing SC Johnson’s commitment to bringing families popular and trusted brands that help make lives better,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability. “Today’s relighting, illuminating the sky on the longest night of the year, reaffirms that commitment.”

The Research Tower is located at the heart of the company’s global headquarters at its Howe Street campus in Racine, Wis., and stands 153 feet high with 232 stairs that climb 15 stories. Opened in 1950, the Tower was home to the company’s research and development scientists, who, within 10 years of opening, developed and introduced several of its most trusted products, including Raid (1955), Glade (1956), OFF! (1957) and Pledge (1958). Today, these iconic brands continue to be market leaders, and are sold in nearly every country around the world.

While SC Johnson closed the facility in 1982, the company still lit the Research Tower every night. The lights were recently turned off during an extensive 12-month restoration, which involved both exterior and interior updates, including:

Installation of more energy-efficient features, such as an automated light timer
Restoration of the building’s 21,170 bricks
Implementation of new light fixtures to replicate originals
Restoration of the original lighting scheme
Refurbishment of cabinet faces, walls and floors
Replacement of more than 5,800 Pyrex glass tubes that were used to construct the building’s numerous windows
Cleaning of more than 1,500 curved Pyrex tubes using a combination of water and Windex, one of SC Johnson’s most popular brands
Repainting of the third floor and mezzanine levels, including painting the cabinets Cherokee red, the signature Wright-SC Johnson color and original paint color
Research Tower Opens to the Public for the First Time
Beginning in spring of 2014, the Research Tower will be open to the public for the first time ever, at no charge.

“While SC Johnson has offered free public tours of the Wright-designed buildings on campus, the Research Tower, which is currently on the National Register of Historic Places, will open its doors to the public for the first time,” said Semrau. “We’re delighted to share this important piece of our legacy publicly, for the first time this spring.”

Starting in May, tours of the Research Tower will be available on Fridays and Saturdays in both the morning and afternoon. In addition, visitors can also:

Tour the Wright-designed SC Johnson Administration Building, celebrated as one of the top 25 buildings of the 20th century

Tour the award-winning, Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall

Tour The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright, which showcases Wright’s designs and artifacts and explores the legendary architect’s influence on families and the American home
Enjoy films: the Academy Award-winning documentary To Be Alive! The acclaimed Carnauba: A Son’s Memoir, shown at the historic Golden Rondelle Theater
All tours also include a visit to The Lily Pad, a gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and brand gift merchandise, as well as Wright-inspired items. All SC Johnson tours are free.

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