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Fortaleza Hall Architecture

SC Johnson’s innovative Fortaleza Hall, named for the city in northeast Brazil that was at the heart of two life-changing expeditions by the Johnson family, represents a commitment to the company’s legacy of visionary thinking and inspired architecture.

Architecture Destination

In 2010, SC Johnson opened Fortaleza Hall at its international headquarters in Racine, Wis. and with it, the company continues its commitment to excellence in architecture. The campus, already an architectural destination, hosts thousands of Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts each year as they come to see Wright’s renowned designs including the Administration Building, which opened in 1939 and the Research Tower, which opened in 1950 (and re-opened for tours in May 2014). In June 2012, the company opened The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright, which features an annually rotating exhibit of the legendary architect’s designs, artifacts, drawings and more around families and the American home.

Fortaleza Hall, designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster and his firm, London-based Foster + Partners, is a contemporary partner to the innovative buildings and offerings of Frank Lloyd Wright. In 2011, the building earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Foster + Partners is also responsible for such notable projects as:

  • The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
  • The restored Reichstag in Berlin
  • Wembley Stadium
  • 30 St. Mary Avenue (better known as The Gherkin) in London

Form and Function

The spherical-shaped, 60,000-square-foot facility, which broke ground in September 2007, has two distinct sections, which are linked by a mostly-glass connecting atrium. 

  • Fortaleza Hall, which provides a historical context for the company and the advances that continue to take place there through displays and memorabilia like the replica, twin-engine S-38 amphibious plane that Sam Johnson flew to Fortaleza, Brazil in 1998,The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright and Legacy Gallery
  • The Commons, which offers employees dining, concierge services, company store, bank and fitness center in a comfortable environment

Facility Facts

Fortaleza Hall

  • Legacy Gallery tells a number of stories about Sam Johnson, the Carnaúba expeditions and the rich history of the company
  • Mural – the first installation of its kind in North America, the mural features 8,000 square feet of precast white concrete with rasterized images of the Brazilian palm forest, recreated from a photo taken during H.F. Johnson, Jr.’s 1935 expedition.
  • Polyconic mosaic map – depicting the rich topography of the Western hemisphere and tracing Sam Johnson’s journey from Racine to Brazil. The map was created using 19,200 pieces of four different kinds of sustainably harvested wood

The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright

The Gallery showcases a rotating selection of Wright’s designs and artifacts and explores the legendary architect’s influence on families and the American home. It is co-curated by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Archives Director at Taliesin West, Ariz., and Brady Roberts, Chief Curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

  • The first exhibit focused on Wright’s highly influential Prairie-Style designs and featured reproductions of drawings, renderings and rooms from some of Wright’s most famous homes.
  • The second exhibit, Usonia: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Vision Of The American Home, focused on Wright’s architectural vision for the development of cities featuring practical, yet beautiful, homes for the middle-class.
  • In May 2014, a third exhibit called The Two Taliesins opened at The Gallery, showcasing the architecture of Wright’s two famous homes: Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wis., and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Ariz. The exhibit compares and contrasts how Wright incorporated his signature and revolutionary “organic” design concepts into his own homes, located in two very different landscapes and climates.

The Lily Pad

The Lily Pad, a unique gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items, is open in conjunction with all tours.

  • The Lily Pad is a reference to the dendriform columns in The Great Workroom, which is housed in The Administration Building. Because of their unique design these columns are also called mushrooms, golf tees or lily pads.  

Vertical Garden

  • Provides a soil-free, self-supporting system light enough to hang on the wall
  • Designed by Patrick Blanc, artist, botanist with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research, France) and holder of two doctorates from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris
  • Nearly 2,500 plants and 79 species largely native to Central and South America

Waterfall and Reflecting Pool

  • Water falls 14 feet into a reflecting pool 28 feet long
  • System circulates and stores 750 gallons of water
  • Framed by a monumental 24-step glass tread staircase

Grand Staircases

  • Two grand staircases, on the north and south sides of the building, are dedicated to H.F. Johnson, Jr. and Sam Johnson
  • Quotes that demonstrate their commitment to the company’s core values are etched in the walls

Soundscape

  • A 3-D veil of sound; computer-generated and linked to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to compliment the weather and the time of day in Racine with sounds of Brazil
  • The sounds do not run on a loop so no two days will sound alike

Compass

  • Three curved, sustainably harvested, U.S. black walnut benches depict the expedition stops of both H.F. Johnson, Jr. and Sam Johnson
  • The benches begin in the north part of the building and run south, consistent with their journeys

Glass Panels

  • Fortaleza Hall is made of curved, low-iron one-inch-thick, glass panels
  • The glass was installed by Gartner Steel and Glass GmbH, a German-American company specializing in steel and glass structures
  • Each panel is 7.5 square feet tall and 16 feet wide
  • 85 glass panels make up Fortaleza Hall

Employee Amenities in The Commons

  • 4,400-square-foot fitness center for employees
  • Employee dining area called Alimento (Portuguese for “food”)
  • Full-service employee bank with an ATM
  • Concierge service to assist with employee requests
  • Company store sells the company’s newest and trusted brands at a discounted price

Visit SC Johnson

SC Johnson offers free tours! We hope to see you soon.

The Landmarks Tour – Up to 2 hours

Highlighted this year by the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower, the Landmarks Tour is perfect for those who want a close, in-depth look at SC Johnson’s inspired architecture.

This tour also features the Wright-designed Administration Building as well as the award-winning Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, with the Spirit of Carnaúba airplane soaring at its heart, and a visit to The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright.

In May 2014, a new exhibit called The Two Taliesins opened in The Gallery, showcasing the architecture of Wright’s two famous homes: Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The tour also offers a stop at The Lily Pad, a unique gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and brand gift merchandise, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items.

For more information on tours to the SC Johnson campus, please call (262) 260-2154, email Tours@scj.com, or use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit

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