In 1936, Herbert Fisk Johnson, Jr. (1899-1978) commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a new administration building for S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., (also known as Johnson Wax), the family business which has since been renamed SC Johnson, A Family Company. Johnson loved the plan so much he later commissioned Wright to design a new home for his family in Racine, Wisconsin. Completed in 1939, Wright called the 14,000-foot creation Wingspread, because its four wings embrace the prairie, while the roof over the central Great Hall soars skyward.
Wingspread sits on 36 acres of prairie, woods and ravines and combines the use of grand spaces for social gatherings with smaller, more intimate areas. Its primary materials – Kasota limestone, red Streator Brick, tinted stucco and unstained tidewater cypress – anchor the house to the earth, while its many windows and skylights open it to the heavens by admitting air, light and views of the sky and landscape. Wingspread features a breathtaking 30-foot-high chimney, a teepee-inspired clerestory ceiling, five fireplaces, a cantilevered “Romeo and Juliet” balcony, and a glass-enclosed “crow’s nest” look out.