The Research Tower was Wright’s vision of a vertical compliment to the Administration Building. Opened in 1950, the Research Tower is one of the tallest structures ever built on the cantilever principle.
It stands 153 feet tall and its central core, which is 13 feet in diameter, extends 54 feet into the ground. All 15 floors of the Research Tower are supported by the “taproot” core, much like a tree supports its branches.
Of the 15 floors, six are square, with circular mezzanine floors above them, with one additional square floor on the second level. Running up the core of the building are an elevator and a stairway. More than 7,000 Pyrex glass tubes serve as its windows, with the exterior lined with bands of more than 22,000 bricks, featuring the signature Wright/SC Johnson color, “Cherokee Red.”
Between 1950 and 1982, the Tower was the primary 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.
In 2013, the company undertook an extensive 12-month restoration, which involved both exterior and interior updates. During the process, approximately 22,000 bricks and more than 7,000 Pyrex glass tubes that were used to construct the building’s numerous windows were replaced. The company relit the Tower in late December 2013 after final restoration of the original lighting scheme.
The Research Tower will open to the public for the first time in spring 2014, and guests will be able to experience four main exhibit areas on two floors for an unprecedented look at one of Wright’s most unique architectural achievements.
Visitors will be taken back in time to experience how the Tower operated in its heyday with a full mock-up of a 1950’s laboratory. The exhibits shine a new light on the innovations in research and development that emerged in the Tower and how the architecture stimulated the scientists’ creativity and cutting-edge advancements.
Drawings, photographs and correspondence between Wright and H.F. Johnson Jr. will provide visitors with a rich overview of the Tower’s origin, unique role in the company’s history and its influence on the local community.
Book a tour now.