Address: 715 West Washington Avenue, South Bend, Indiana
City: South Bend, Indiana
The K.C. DeRhodes house, which was built after Wright’s first trip to Japan, reflects the importance of this pivotal journey, as well as the great talent of Wright’s draughtsman, Marion Mahony, who played a major role in the design of the house. Mahony’s most celebrated contribution to the project includes a highly original presentation drawing in which crisply rendered, stylized vegetation grows up and around the DeRhodes house to create a scenic frame that firmly situates the structure within its natural setting. Stylistically, the drawing is similar to the prodigious collection of prints Wright accumulated during his travels in Japan, as well as posters of the Vienna Secession. It signaled the arrival of a new graphic style in American architectural rendering.
As with the DeRhodes house presentation drawing, the leaded glass windows of the residence reflect Mahony’s distinctive flair. They feature an unusual ornamental program in which groupings of densely organized, angled triangles in the window’s upper registers point toward tapered accumulations of vertically oriented rectangles in its lower register. They closely resemble the windows Mahony designed for her brother’s house, the Gerald Mahony residence, in Elkhart Indiana in 1907, and demonstrate that members of Wright’s studio possessed a tremendously independent creative intellect.