Thursday, 12 November 2009

Johnson Wax Building – Frank Lloyd Wright (1936)

"Architecture begins to matter when it goes beyond protecting us from the elements, when it begins to say something about the world -- when it begins to take on the qualifications of art."johnson_draw2
- Paul Goldberger

  If there’s any building that fits that description, it’s the “cathedral of business” that is Wright’s Johnson Wax Building – a revolutionary exterior in Racine, Wisconsin containing his sleekest tower, and what’s been called “the greatest room in America” – a place in which to work that would feel like you were in one of Monet’s lily ponds – and somewhere that‘s very difficult to photograph well . . . 



Watch this video presentation to find out more:

For the full impact, start at 3 minutes in when you begin entering the building.


  1. NOtice how in 1939 Wright was fully accepting the impact of the motor car and designed a building where the main entrance was the parking area and designed it accordinly.

    Decades later most architects were putting the motorist in the dungeon and building huge front of street staircases leading nowhere for noone.

  2. Is it possible to have an "organic" skyscraper Peter?

    In the video it says that FLR liked horizontal lines, is that because vertical lines and therefore tall building really just don't fit in to any environment/building or just a subjective preference of FLR's?

    And if Skyscrapers can't be "organic" then is it "irrational" to like them? Or does the feat of engineering and what skyscrapers represent override whether they are organic or not?

    And it says that in later years FLR was working on designing a city - why! that's just absurd! every good libertarian knows you can't plan where people live! :-)


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