For many scholars of contemporary architecture the best work of Frank Lloyd Wright is neither his extraordinary Cascade House nor the innovative Guggenheim Museum in New York. Lloyd Wright's best work would be one for industrial use, the headquarters of the Johnson Wax company in the town of Racine in the state ofWisconsin. A work he projected between 1936 and 1939.
Exterior of the Johnson Wax Building
And this despite the fact that the architect was very resistant to developing the project, since he did not like the industrial environment where he had to build the headquarters. And he tried by all means to convince the owner to build on another site. However, in the end, beset by a precarious financial situation, he decided to take the job
However, this distaste for the environment was maintained throughout, and in fact, the venue looks like a kind of brick fortress with few windows, since the light enters largely from above. In this way it simulates being isolated from the urban and industrial landscape that surrounds it.
Another curious note is the horizontal development, contrary to the vertical spirit of the architecture of the time. And while you see a tall tower today, that was a later addition made by Lloyd Wright himself a few years later.
Possibly the most valuable thing about the project is how it faced theinteriors. In fact, refusing to integrate with the environment favored building inwards, looking for a space that, according to the words of the moment, would make the workers happier and therefore more productive. Thing that seems to be that according to the statistics of the company it was fulfilled.
Conceive the interior as an isolated world, like a forest of columns and workstations bathed in light from above. A light that was wanted to reach all the spaces of the great room in a uniform way without any compartmentalization and populated by numerous columns that look like the trees or palm trees of that supposed forest.
Interior of Johnson Wax Building
In the same room are all the administrative and commercial departments, without any distinction. Which was an idea that inspired himHib Johnson, owner of the company, who wanted to embody in his headquarters the American dream that any citizen could reach the heights of success. Although it is true that the most restricted space was on the third floor, that of Hib Johnson himself, which was also the only one that was open to the outside, and had a terrace.