Many people can easily recognize the clean lines of minimalist architecture, but perhaps not everyone is aware of its origins and development over the years, right up to the present day.
Earlier on our blog we discussed The Maximalist trend in interior design. In this article we will see the characteristics of the antonym style. That is, we will see what minimalist architecture is and its main characteristics. This unmistakable architectural style has inspired many architects who have helped spread it around the world, appreciating in their works and projects the qualities of a minimalist house or a building designed according to the criteria that characterize it.
What is minimalist architecture?
Even those who are not experts in architecture are able to identify and appreciate the beauty of a minimalist space: spacious, linear, bright and essential. On the other hand, there are those who despise it precisely because of his excessive coldness and austerity.
Throughout history, minimalism in architecture has been conditioned by numerous stylistic trends that have given it different nuances also depending on the place of application. Despite this, it has remained faithful to its essence, that of simplicity and sobriety of shapes and colours.
More than a fashion or a trend, minimalist architecture is attributable to a true philosophy of life.
Currently, the exponential growth of the socioeconomic phenomenon based on consumption is enormously damaging the life of the entire planet and its inhabitants. Environmental pollution is one of the causes that is most affected by this choice and contributes to worsen the common feeling of stress in the population.
Even the vertiginous shortening of production times forces the human being to lead a life with an exaggeratedly accelerated rhythm.
Consequently, the need to counteract this tendency to excesses and the need to move towards a general rupture is reinforced by seeking diaphanous environments that surround oneself with simplicity, which refers to a sensation of calm and serenity.
Main characteristics of minimalist architecture
Minimalism in architecture allows the architect to exalt volumes to its maximum, thanks to the skilful arrangement of empty spaces. As we conceive it today, to continue being minimalist architecture, it cannot do without the following characteristics:
Both in the case of interior and exterior design, the quality of the empty space is essential to obtain a perfect harmonious relationship with what is built.
The arrangement of the elements must be done with the proper distance, since this allows to create a light and spacious environment.
Since it is the function of the space together with the structure that creates the form, everything that is not strictly necessary for the function and solidity of an element does not add anything to its beauty: on the contrary, it would hide it.
Few colours and materials
White, a symbol of “colourless” purity, is the undisputed protagonist of the minimalist works, flanked and reinforced by touches of black. It is mainly combined with the brightness of chrome steel and the transparency of glass. White also makes each object stand out as much as possible, whether it is a piece of furniture or a simple everyday object.
Sometimes there is also the presence of grey (to recall the exposed concrete of 20th century brutalism) or wood, which softens the coldness that “Total White” can generate. It is also possible to use other colours in minimalist architecture, the important thing is that the environment transmits an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
Light, apparently immaterial, becomes one of the few factors (along with man and objects) capable of filling and changing the minimum, static and motionless space par excellence.
With its play of shadows and contrasts, the careful study of natural and artificial light is essential to give the building that touch of singularity.
Attention to details
Everything behind the finished work is as important as the work itself, if not more so. During the design phase of a building, a piece of furniture or an object, in addition to carefully studying its construction details and its future use, it is also essential to foresee all the phases of its life cycle.
All this in order to reduce construction times and costs, eliminate waste, optimize maintenance, think about repair in case of breakage and finally its elimination or reuse.
Technological innovation in minimalism in architecture, over time, will provide more and more possibilities to raise the quality of the production process, also helping to reduce the environmental impact of construction.
Already in the eighteenth century, neoclassical architecture tried to contrast the splendour of the baroque and the rococo looking for geometric simplicity. The goal was to create an architecture that communicated its function through form, emphasizing linearity and symmetry and thus showing how reason had to prevail over feeling.
In the same way, the Modern Movement, which developed during the two world wars -after the recent industrialization to the detriment of crafts-, advances towards an investigation aimed at the renovation of the architecture, urban planning and design of the moment.
All this leads to the definition of the principles of functionality, utility and purpose of the building, with the aim of achieving aesthetic beauty through in-depth knowledge of the use of the most advanced construction materials and systems.
Le Corbusier, a benchmark of minimalist architecture
Among the great architects of the 20th century who influenced the concept of contemporary minimalist architecture, we remember Le Corbusier. He is a well-known Swiss and French nationalized architect, urban planner, painter and sculptor, a world leader in modern architecture.
His influence on modern architecture is present both in teaching and in practice. This visionary architect defined housing as “The machine to live in” and theorized that architecture as a means to generate beauty, practicality and functionality. Le Corbusier’s style was characterized by five fundamental points:
- The supports
- Rooftops and terraces converted into gardens
- The free structure of each plant
- The free structure of the facade.
- Large windows
Do you want more information about minimalist architecture? We encourage you to contact our architecture architectural office in Murcia without obligation.