Minimalism and Islamic Spirit

Minimalism in Architecture might be summed up in  the statement of Mies Van Derrohe: Less is More. It consists of a continuous quest to strip away the unwanted details and decoration. According to the pioneers of this thought, design is defining the true essence of any object. It is a continuous effort towards simplicity, through honesty of materials and structure.

To what extent Minimalism meets the ascetic  spirit of Islam in terms of simplicity, truth and mysticism known as Zuhud, haqeeqa and  Taammul. If so, could minimalism be adopted by Muslim architects to revive the simple and humble architecture that was met in  most houses and buildings of old towns and villages?Beyond the over simplicity that is movement often promotes, some architects especially the Japanese adopted it and adapted it to their need for a level of abstraction as an aesthetic based on clarity  of logic, and transparency of concept. Modernism then turned into a refined version of modernist language that combats  denial of context. Architecture became a means that promotes contemplation and transcendental thought such as the comparison  of difference between inside and outside.

However, doesn’t  this same concept of over-simplicity disturb the human tendency  for privacy and intimacy through the exposure of the building to outside and the adoption of naked buildings? Doesn’t  this same spirit of minimalism go in opposite way with the natural desires of human beings for small touches and personalizing details of homes and place-making?

Medinanet opens a debate on the movement of minimalism through this short introduction.

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