Farnsworth House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe | classics from the Godfather of minimalism
by guest writer Ana Maria Manzo, Venezuela | twitter @anammanzo
In the past few years it seems that every potential client who meets with an architect, wants to build a “minimalist project“…
The “trend” (if that word applies in this context) of minimalism has invaded our lives to such an extent that made them deserted…
Architects, letting ourselves be carried by clients, have fallen into the excessive use of the typical elements of minimalism (or lack of them), and architecture has become a game of who designs with fewer elements. And I do not mean Miesian precept known as “less is more“… I mean this obsession to turn architecture into empty boxes.
That “great void” might be overwhelming and even depressing. And where this becomes more evident is in residential architecture. The inhabitant must precede the architecture, and the latter should be in accordance with the needs and not just the apparent wishes of those who will live their experience in this place day after day. The architect must act as a psychologist and get into the clients mind to understand and discover what they really need … not only limit himself to translate their words into plans.
Minimalism should simplify life, not complicate it, as it emerges as a necessity in a time of excess and speed. The inhabitant of a minimal house has to leave everything in a location and precise position and also worry for the “perfection”, because those elements of everyday life do not fit in this neat environment… And the client, most of the time, is not aware that this is going to be so, and sometimes even knowing that, is not prepared for what this implies. Hence the fact that the architect is more than just a Translator.
Another area where this trend affects directly, is in the definition of the style or “work line” of architects. Many professionals, with the intention of being commercial, begin to repeat themselves, reaching the extreme point where all the buildings look the same…And minimalism can lead to this somehow. Not only there are architects that repeat themselves… there are cities plagued of the same building… with the same elements, each and every one of them filled with the same emptiness…
Thus, the urban landscape can be perceived as something quite monotonous, with no element of surprise, this is how a walk through any street in the world can produce the same experience. If this occurs, this emptiness already mentioned will invade not only our lives but also our environment and our sense of wonder, eliminating any type of sensory experience that contact with architecture might produce.