September 15, 2014

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Free tours of Frank Lloyd Wright Designs

Free tours of three Frank Lloyd Wright-designed landmarks in the Racine area are now available through SC Johnson.

The Racine-based consumer products company offers tours of its Administration Building and Research Tower as part of the two-hour Landmarks Tour at its headquarters campus, 1525 Howe St., Racine. In a partnership with the Johnson Foundation, tours are also available at Wingspread, 33 E. Four Mile Road, Wind Point.

The SC Johnson Administration Building (1939) features the Great Workroom, a huge open space supported by a series of unique concrete, dendriform columns. The 15-story Research Tower (1950) opened to the public for the first time in May after receiving extensive interior and exterior restoration work.

The Landmarks Tour also includes the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, the SC Johnson Gallery:  At Home With Frank Lloyd Wright and the Lily Pad gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items.

Also at the SC Johnson campus, visitors have the opportunity to view films at the Wright-inspired Golden Rondelle Theater, which was designed for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

The theater presents "Carnauba: A Son's Memoir," a one-hour depiction of the late Sam Johnson's 1998 re-creation of his father's 1935 expedition to Fortaleza, Brazil, to study the carnauba palm, a key ingredient in the company's wax products. A second film is "To Be Alive!" an Academy Award-winning 20-minute film commissioned for the 1964-65 World's Fair that celebrates the similarity of cultures around the world.

At 14,000-square-feet, Wingspread (1939) was the largest Prairie-style home designed by Wright. An array of windows and skylights provide natural light and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The home was built for the H.F. Johnson Jr. family and is now a conference center.

The Administration Building, Research Tower and Wingspread are all on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tours of both sites are available on Wednesdays through Sundays through the end of the year. To schedule a tour, use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit or call 262-260-2154.

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