October 19, 2021
Our 60th project in our Top 100 Projects countdown is S.C. Johnson & Son’s Fortaleza Hall & The Commons located in Racine, Wisconsin.
Completed in 2009, Epstein was the architect of record and civil engineer for this project, in which we worked with Foster + Partners, the design architects, for this award-winning project.
The new 68,000-square-foot building, which honors S.C. Johnson’s late chairman, Emeritus Sam Johnson, is comprised of Fortaleza Hall, a 20,000-square-foot museum/exhibition center, and The Commons, an employee amenity structure that features a 750-employee cafeteria, bank, company store, concierge service, coffee shop, and fitness center.
Fortaleza Hall commemorates and celebrates the 1935 expedition to Fortaleza, Brazil taken by H.F. Johnson (third generation Johnson family) to research the process for harvesting wax from the leaves of the Carnauba palm, the basis for Johnson’s wax. Fortaleza Hall displays memorabilia of the expedition and a replica 1930’s-era Sikorsky airplane, flown by Sam Johnson, the son of H.F. Johnson, and his two sons, Curt and Fisk, in 1998 from Racine to Fortaleza in commemoration of H.F. Johnson’s original expedition. The project seeks to articulate the extraordinary story of the Carnaúba adventure, and offer an educational, informative experience for the community and visitors.
Epstein's civil engineers were responsible for the development of a utility and roadway master plan for the S.C. Johnson campus, which would consider phased construction for implementation of the campus capital improvement plan over a 10 year period. In addition, Epstein's engineers coordinated with a land planner and S.C. Johnson personnel to develop a phased plan for future development and growth. The scope of work included assessments of the condition and capacity of the existing utility and roadway infrastructure, determination of the utility requirements for future development, as well as preparation of design drawings and budget estimates for each phase of development.