When we talk about minimalism we refer to the tendency to have the minimum, to reduce to the essential. In fact, minimalism means minimalism, and comes from the English word “minimal“.

It was first used by the British philosopher Richard Wollheim to refer to Ad Reinhardt’s monochromatic paintings and Marcel Duchamp’s use of ordinary objects, such as the famous urinal, which he presented as art.

This term was gradually introduced into our lives, even reaching the world of architecture and design, thus creating the concept we know today as minimalist architecture.

It should be noted that minimalist design was greatly influenced by traditional Japanese design and architecture, since the idea of simplicity appears in many cultures, but especially in the Japanese “zen” philosophy and “feng shui” style

In this article we will explain what is minimalist architecture, what is its origin and what are its essential characteristics.

Origin of minimalist architecture

Quotes like “less is more” by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, have made us change our way of seeing life. The fact of having everything does not mean that it is the most necessary or the most adequate.

Sometimes, having what is really necessary and doing without the rest is much more successful than having and covering everything. The same is true in architecture and in the minimalist style

The concept of minimalist architecture is characterized by stripping away all unnecessary ornaments to the point of leaving the essential qualities.

The well-known phenomenon of “minimalism” was born in 1930, by the hand of Ludwig Mies. But it was not until the 1960s when it began to become popular.  Although it should be noted that it reached its greatest success in the late 80s.

Mies was a German-American architect who with phrases such as the aforementioned “less is more” or “God is in the details” defined his own style, managing to create a functional and more usable space.

But what is really minimalism in architecture? We take this opportunity to explain it to you below. 

Minimalism in architecture

Minimalism tries to achieve the maximum simplicity of the subjects and the “zen” state that symbolizes freedom and life. In addition, it achieves the beauty of simplicity through peaceful and striking spaces.

For this, the important thing is not to overload the spaces with unnecessary elements and make use of pure and monochromatic colors, combining neutral colors between them.

The most used materials in minimalist architecture are all those materials from the rustic, such as wood, stainless steel, glass, or marble among others.

To highlight the design of minimalist architecture it is important to choose pieces that highlight its originality. But what do we mean when we talk about minimalist design? To a design that bets on the essential, and removes all the elements that surround the basics.

It conveys many things with very little, and although it may seem easier than creating other more elaborate designs, it is not. 

Minimalist design is an art. Perceiving the levels of complexity that simplicity offers is more difficult than it seems, so it is important to grasp the nuances.

The success of minimalist architecture in these times is really due to the fact that it is tuned to the same frequency as modernity. Where the concept must be very close to the functional and simplicity.

Surely after knowing all this information you are wondering how to make minimalist architecture and what features it has. Keep reading, because we will tell you about it below. 

Characteristics of the minimalist style in architecture

There are many characteristics of the minimalist style in architecture, however, here we show you the most outstanding ones:


Simplicity predominates, simplicity, both in shapes and objects. The designs of the houses are usually simple with cold light, white elements and open spaces.

Elementary coatings and finishes

They make use of cladding materials to achieve an effect of union between various parts, thus ordering their movement, as well as being visually more attractive.

Open, clean, light-filled spaces

Neutral and monochromatic colors, uncluttered areas, and/or an open floor plan between kitchen and common areas allow for an abundance of light and provides an appearance of calm.

Clean decoration

This point is fundamental to minimalist interior architecture, as it reduces the load of elements.

Strategic use of materials

Strategic use of materials is important to generate visual interest, creativity and a sense of tranquility.  In addition, the placement of elements shows the personality of each person.

The prominence of facades

The textures of facades should be discreet, so it is advisable to avoid an abundance of ornaments.

Examples of minimalist architecture

There are many examples of minimalist architecture that we can find in the world, but in this post we will highlight some of the most popular historically: 

Minimalist House/Shinichi Ogawa & Associates.

Located in Japan and wanted to represent the minimalist style to perfection from a cube. 

It is a project called Minimalist House. It represents the purest ideas of a studio internationally recognized for its trajectory and for finding the purity of materials and space.

Shinichi ogawa and associates

The house has simple bedrooms and a dining room with lots of light. It also has a very basic study room with two computers and two chairs. 

Casa Viva/John Pawson

Pawson loves the sea, so many of his architectural works are close to the great ocean with breathtaking views.

Gilbert McCarragher

Casa Viva is a modern home that literally relaxes in its entirety just by looking at it. It is built with noble materials such as wood, minimal and basic elements, simple geometric shapes and pure colors.

Aires Mateus & Associates

The house in Leiria (Portugal), where the minimalist architect opted for the color white, both inside and outside the house, is another clear example of minimalist architecture.

A facade worth seeing, an elegant and sober interior design combined with wood and the minimum number of possible elements in terms of decoration.

Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

Nowadays, we live in a world full of stress and agitation. Therefore, coming home and enjoying a place that, with its architecture and minimalist style, takes us to a state of calm and tranquility, will help us to see life in a different way. 

If you like minimalist architecture and want to keep discovering great projects like the ones mentioned above, we invite you to follow the account @_archidesignhome_ a paradise for architecture lovers at all levels!