Minimalism 101: Understanding a Trend

Minimalism gained popularity in the early 1900s with artists such as Kazimir Malevich and later Piet Mondrian. The philosophy behind these names’ work was so powerful that it influenced all over the world over time, including the Bauhaus school. Today, minimalism continues to be accepted and appreciated both as a lifestyle and an architectural trend. But what are the most general features of minimal architecture?

Limited Material Palette

If it were necessary to summarize the philosophy behind minimalism in a single sentence, it would be Van der Rohe’s “Less is more.” Like in this sentence, the architect who wants to take a minimal approach to material selection tries to achieve most with less.

The material palette is limited in minimalism. However, this situation is not allowed to limit the design.

Use of Natural Materials

Minimalism is also accepting nature and life as it is. The same is true when it comes to materials. Determining limited materials and then painting these materials in different colors each time, coating them with other products, and using them is not a minimal act.

In minimalism, we consider the material as it is. Its nature is respected and acted in harmony with it.

Primary Colors

A reflection of minimalist approaches in architecture has been using only primary colors, black and white. Schöder House, which is used as a museum today, is the best example of this situation. The architect of the house, Gerrit Rietveld, is already known for playing with primary colors.

Primary Forms

Minimalism seems boring to some people because it does not go beyond the basics in forms and colors. Because organic conditions are not preferred often, the idea of ​​creating the best design with minimum material, waste and cost lies in the minimal approach. Since right-angled areas are the places that are easiest to organize and divide, the tendency towards them is more intense.


Minimalism should be considered not only as an aesthetic trend but as a whole design and life philosophy. Only when viewed in this way, can the design decisions of minimalist architects be understood.

Minimalism, as we mentioned above, is a function-oriented approach. It aims to produce the needs in the shortest time with the least cost and waste. Therefore, the open-plan type will always be the first choice of architects who want to make a minimal design.

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