How To Make A Corporate Setting Into A Cathedral

by | Dec 18, 2004

“What is architecture anyway? Is it the vast collection of the various buildings which have been built to please the varying taste of the various lords of mankind? I think not. No, I know that architecture is life; or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived. So architecture I know to be a Great Spirit…Architecture is that great living creative spirit which from generation to generation, from age to age, proceeds, persists, creates, according to the nature of man, and his circumstances as they change. That is really architecture.” -Frank Lloyd Wright


Since its opening on April 22, 1939, the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building has been a “mecca” for tourists, architects and Frank Lloyd Wright devotees from around the world. Today the building remains in use as the international headquarters for SC Johnson Wax.

The bricks used in the building are unusual in that more than 200 sizes and shapes of brick were made to form the angles and curves used by Wright. Even their color, Cherokee Red, was specified by Wright.

The Great Workroom, which covers nearly one-half acre, is the main office area. Though it has many unique features, two of the most prominent are the slim dendriform columns that support the roof, and glass tubing which replaces conventional windows.

As I stood inside this wonderful building this morning, I felt like a frog ready to emerge from the depths. I know Wright’s columns are meant to evoke a stand of trees, and they do. But the room also evokes a certain amphibious nature, with his “tree tops” spread out like lily pads.