Minimalism in architecture header image

Minimalism means a lack of ornamentation and decoration, creating a clean and calm area. 

Minimalism has always been a part of Japanese culture. The Japanese principles look for open spaces, valuing an object’s natural state, and stillness, these principles have influenced their architecture for hundreds of years but became popular in the 18th century in the Western countries. 


Minimalism in architecture normally suggests the use of concrete, glass, and steel, allowing clean lines within a building. Within the UK the trend became popular in the 1980s with John Pawson being credited for the popularity. 


One of John Pawson designs, the Design Museum in London, doesn’t look like a minimalism design from the outside. However, inside, the Grade 2 listed building has been transformed with the minimal oak and marble-lined atrium, with galleries arranged around the edge. 

he Design Museum in London

Minimalism has influenced most modern buildings in the past 10 years, including the use of large panes of glass. 

One high profile residential building that strictly follows the minimalism rules of design is Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West’s property. Architect Vincent Van Duysen along with interior designer Axel Vervoordt created a clean, white design throughout the house, with only a small use of wood and concrete. Showing that the trend has not died out, and potentially influencing a resurgence.  


Although as stated above, minimalism architecture originated from Japan, it has now evolved further in Japan by utilising modern materials and technology.  A traditional Japanese house would normally consist of wooden and paper walls in a square, around a courtyard or focal room. So in keeping with the traditional feel, many houses have now been created with large panes of glass into a number of courtyards, creating calming focus points for the house, as well as particle space.

Japanese Minimalist house

Another culture that uses the minimalism design within their architecture is the Scandinavian, so much so that it has become its own sub-style. The Scandinavian minimalism makes use of wood, such as pine to create a warm feeling throughout the buildings. This wood often paired with a number of large paned windows creates a connection with nature outside. It is also key to the lighting of a room, that further promotes the feeling of space and tranquillity.

Scandinavian minimalist house

JDW Architects

At JDW Architects, we work with you to create your style into reality, with our longstanding aim is to provide an intelligent, rigorous architecture which is practical as well as affordable. We add value through imaginative, innovative and positive design solutions. Contact us to find out more.





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