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Building Upon Minimal Architecture to Give Only What is Needed, When it is Needed

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © telmo32 | Flickr

There is something to be said about a design when it simply presents the user with only what is needed, when it is needed. Simple design does not mean that it is simplistic, but rather that it has stripped away the extraneous and unnecessary that would only confuse or belittle the power of the true underlying design core. This is often a strength of minimal architecture.

In fact, the image to the right depicts how a simple line can be manipulated to express such vast space and dimension — all by expressing form, color and a simple vision that brings the viewer in. Some may say that the success of the iPhone is built upon a similar type of minimalism that makes the user experience an intuitive and joyful one. And much like the line image above, just because it is based on the power of the simple, does not mean that it does not have an inherent complexity.

In applying what a simpler design can do within architecture, I invite you to take a look at the following Electrolux Design Concept, entitled Heart of the Home. As you watch the animation, notice how a simple surface can morph into exactly what a user needs, at precisely the time they need it. Additionally, what is presented in simple form, is made to adjust according to user controls to help a person reach their goal — in this case to prepare a great meal with ease.

On this Sensing Architecture site, I often talk about various emerging technologies that are interactive, adaptive or even augmented. But what I would like you to understand is that such technologies can be used within an architectural design to make what is seemingly simple within a building (like a surface) have inherent complexity that can serve occupants in innovative and multifaceted ways.

So, I urge you to take a look at the following video, and as you watch reconsider what those simple elements within a building can be created to do. The surface, the corner, or even a joint can be reformulated to become so much more than what you may think it is at first glance. Think about how you can build upon the power of minimal architecture, and use the following video to trigger some creative strategies for incorporation into your own work —

 

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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