by Michael R. Allen
The Schweiss House, located at 4 Daniel Road in Ladue, is one of two diminutive houses on geometric modules completed in 1952 by the master modern firm Bernoudy-Mutrux. The other house is the triangular Pinkney House in Columbia, Missouri. (The firm’s Simms House, also from 1952, is based on a parallelogram grid but is not a small house.) William A. Bernoudy and Edouard J. Mutrux’s partnership had formed in 1946 and would last until 1965, with Henry Bauer added as partner in 1955. Together, the pair explored the use of parallelogram and triangular modular layouts for Modern Movement homes both small and large. The partnership’s work in applying geometric modules was inspired partially by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Usonian Houses, which include the Kraus House at Ebsworth Park (1949-1955) that dramatically employed a cross plan of parallelogram grids. As with the Kraus House, here the clients would do much of the construction work themselves.