Frank Lloyd Wright Classic
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.
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 is our largest model and as such this kit offers the recipient more building experience. Thanks to clear 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.
If you'd rather enjoy the model without building it, you can purchase a professionally built (Pre-assembled). Go to our Finished Model page for more information.
Keep your model in pristine, dust-free condition with an acrylic case specifically designed for your model. Go to our Acrylic Cases page for photos and ordering information.
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
— Recommended Age: 15 & Up
— Difficulty Level: Beginner
— Assembly Time: 5 Hours
— Completed Dimensions: 11.75"L x 8.25"W x 3.5"H
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867 – 1959
Frank Lloyd Wright grew up in Wisconsin and before graduating high school, he was apprenticed to architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee. In 1887, he worked as a draughtsman with Adler and Sullivan in Chicago, working under Louis Sullivan, who has been called the father of modernism and the inventor of the skyscraper. In 1893, Wright left Adler and Sullivan to open his own firm. Throughout his career, Wright sought to create buildings that would open up richer possibilities for their inhabitants, a testament to his idea that all buildings should liberate the life of the individual. He firmly believed that the architecture of the future could no longer act as a mere shell or shelter and instead proposed an alternative architecture designed from within outward, spacious and exuberant. He was very interested in how people used, lived and worked in built spaces, and often designed furnishings and interior decorations (such as his famous stained glass creations) for his building projects.
In 1932, Wright and his wife Olgivanna created The Taliesin Fellowship, an architectural apprenticeship program, the spirit of which lives on today as the School of Architecture at Taliesin in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Wright died on April 9, 1959 at age 91, and was buried in Spring Green, Wisconsin In 1985, his remains were relocated to the site of his winter home, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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.
Easy to Build
Detailed, step-by-step instructions makes your kit a pleasure to construct.
Beautifully Accurate Models
We research and study the buildings to capture the true essence in our models.
Exquisite Wood Construction
We use the finest wood components (Aspen, American Cherry, Birch, others), and manufacture and inspect all components to the highest standards.