In minimalist architecture, building design or architecture only uses the most basic needs. And emphasizing on things that are functional and essential. Geometric forms and decoration, this is the characteristics of minimalist architecture.
Minimalism itself became a trend in the early 19th century and became an important movement due to a response from previous architectural styles that used more elements of decoration and ornament. Minimalist architectural designers focus on two elements, namely elegant lighting and empty space created by reducing three-dimensional elements in architectural designs.
In London and New York, minimalist architecture became popular in the late 1980s. Architects and fashion designers try to create a concept of simplicity by using white elements, cool lighting, large spaces with minimum objects, and furniture. Architects Ludwid Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier are two architects who have the greatest influence on the element of simplicity in the dynamics of minimalist architecture.
Minimalist architects don’t only consider the physical qualities of buildings, they also look deeply into the invisible spiritual dimensions, with greater attention to detail, people, space, nature, and materials. They discovered that something as abstract and invisible as natural light, the sky, the earth, and the air actually has the qualities.
In minimalist architecture, design is used to convey a message of simplicity. Basic geometric shapes, lack of decoration, use of simple materials, and repetition of structures are hallmarks of minimalism. Natural lighting makes the building look simple and clean. Minimalist architects have a motto “listen to figure”, by seeking the essence of simplicity by rediscovering precious qualities in simple and common materials.
The main characteristics of minimalist architecture include a square floor plan, a cube building shape, a series of windows that stretch with a checkered horizon, all façade angles are 90 degrees, and the use of fabricated materials such as steel, glass, and concrete.
The idea of simplicity actually appears in various cultures, especially in Japan with the Zen culture. The Japanese manipulate Zen culture into the aesthetics and designs of their buildings. Where a Western culture has been influenced by the idea of Japanese architecture, especially since the mid-18th century in America and also in the 19th century inspired the emergence of minimalist architecture.
This Zen concept of simplicity has a lot to say about the idea of freedom and the essence of life. Simplicity is not only seen from its aesthetic value, but also from the moral perception of objects and materials. Like the sand garden at Ryoanji temple above which shows the concept of simplicity with the arrangement of several stones and large empty spaces.
Ma is another Japanese aesthetic principle that refers to empty and open space. Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by sliding doors in Japan that allow exterior elements to enter into the interior of a room. By removing all unnecessary internal walls and opening up the space between the interior and exterior.
One of the famous minimalist-style buildings is Farnsworth House. Farnsworth House is the private home of Dr. Edith Farnsworth who is a kidney disease expert. The house designed by Ludwig Mies van der Hohe is called the most important work of 20th-century architecture. This one-room house is designed using steel and glass. Now, this house is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is used as a museum.
Another example of a minimalist-style house is The Glass Pavilion. This house is touted as the most minimalist house ever designed (Source: architecturebeast.com). This house located in California was designed by a Los Angeles architect named Steve Hermann. Initially, this house was made for the architect’s personal home, but then it was finally sold for a fantastic price reaching 30 million dollars.