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Fortaleza Hall and the Commons, SC Johnson Headquarters


At the SC Johnsons Headquarter Campus in Racine stands The Fortaleza Hall by Foster + Partners. The Fortaleza Hall, opened in 2010, is a celebration of the 15 000 mile flight made to Brazil by H.F. Johnson Jr in 1935 in his search for a sustainable source of natural wax: the carnaúba palm tree. Fortaleza Hall, named after the city Fortaleza in northeast Brazil, now provides a permanent home for the historic replica aircraft and tells the story of its flight.

At the heart of The Fortaleza Hall, a curving concrete wall with a unique surface treatment takes center stage as architectural feature. In addition to its massive form and geometry, the mural in precast concrete is in Graphic Concrete, with which photographic images were transferred onto the surface of the concrete.

The mural in Graphic Concrete was the first installation of its kind in North America. This elegant and simple backdrop to the plane features 8,000 square feet of precast white concrete with rasterized images of the Brazilian palm forest, recreated from a photo taken during H. F.  Johnson Jr.’s 1935 expedition.