The Constructor

Less is More: Minimalist Architecture

Minimalist architecture

Minimalist architecture

Reading time: 1 minute

Have you heard the phrase "Less is More" before? A lot of architects live by this phrase which is often associated with architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, considered as one of the founders of modern architecture.

This phrase was first found in print in Andrea del Sarto, 1855, a poem by Robert Browning:

โ€œWho strive - you don't know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) - so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.โ€

Architecture has several eras- each popular for a certain form or style. Starting from prehistoric to the present era of postmodernism, each has its own approach to design of not just building, but also art and the way of life. These eras gave rise to different styles of art, one of which is Minimalism, which got popular in the late 1980s.

This โ€œismโ€ has stuck around even now and is followed in many other art forms and has become a way of life for some.

What is minimalism you may ask?

Minimalism is to strip something down to its basic essentials and requirements, to add simplicity to space, product, art, and like mentioned earlier even as a lifestyle. It strives to achieve harmony through simplicity.

Image source : Haorldas Jurivicios

Minimalist architecture is commonly characterised by:

โ— Pure geometric forms

โ— Clean and straight lines

โ— Plain materials and colors

โ— Visual simplicity

โ— Repetition of forms

โ— Solids and voids

The Church of Light, Japan
Image source: Naoya Fujii, Antje Verena

Letโ€™s take up an example and break it down, shall we?

The Church of Light designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando is the main chapel of the Ibaraki Kasugaoka Church in Japan. The design was completely stripped of any exuberant decor as usually seen in places of worship. The architect has achieved a โ€˜larger than life' space with clean lines and a double-height ceiling.

Though most places of worship have huge mesmerizing paintings, this church has been kept simple with just a cross across an entire facade, leaving you awestruck. The simple concrete shell provides a dark and meditative space, removing any distractions for the users. The cross in a closed space, adds a bright connection to the outside almost seeming and metaphorically a ray of light and hope.

Minimalist architects attempt to bring nature and the built space together in such a manner that the true form shines in the eyes of the beholder.


Liyah Maria and Karuna Tulsani

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