10 Beautiful Minimalist Buildings Around the World

Clean lines, open spaces, and abundant light sources are hallmarks of minimalist design, demonstrating that stripping a structure down to its core essentials may provide astonishing results. The geometric outlines and bare materials of minimalist constructions create a surprisingly fascinating ambiance.

Influenced by the Bauhaus and De Stijl schools of the 1920s, as well as Japanese Zen aesthetics, minimalism arose as an architectural style in the early 1950s. From Luis Barragán’s colorful walls to Oscar Niemeyer’s white curves, top architects have embraced this architectural concept and placed their unique stamp on it ever since.

Minimalist modernism continues to pique the interest of architects all around the world today. Innovative museums, cathedrals, and mansions that appear as they came straight out of a science fiction film may be found in towns like Baku and Brasilia. Discover 10 of the world’s most breathtaking minimalist masterpieces in chronological sequence.

1. Barcelona Pavilion (1929)

Barcelona Pavilion (1929)
Image Source: BBC

Mies van der Rohe was among the first architects to create “skin and bones” frames that prioritized free-flowing space. The architect, who was born in Germany, collaborated with Lilly Reich on a concept for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The Pavilion’s broad flat roof and glass walls, organized in a single space that blurs the difference between indoors and out, perplexed visitors. The lightness was enhanced by two pools of standing water. Besides a bronze statue of a dancer and a few pieces of specially built furniture, notably the renowned leather-and-chrome Barcelona Chair, Van der Rohe insisted on keeping the Pavilion vacant.

2. Casa Barragán (1948)

Casa Barragán (1948)
Image Source: Dezeen

Luis Barragán, a prominent architect, created a tranquil minimalist paradise in his two-story house and studio. He used native Mexican colors to lighten his Casa, unlike many modernists that use monotone. Barragán created a beautiful abstract composition by plastering outside walls and painting some of them in bright pink and orange. A cantilevered wood staircase in the living room appears to float up to the lofty ceiling. Barragán kept his interiors simple and incorporated skylights and windows to let in natural light at all hours of the day.

3. Chichu Art Museum (1992)

Chichu Museum was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando to fit in with the unearthly vegetation of Naoshima Island. To do so, he created a structure with no visible outside that is virtually totally underground. The only remains of Chichu’s existence from a bird’s eye view are a few outlines of squares, rectangles, and a triangle. When visitors enter, they are greeted by tall, stark concrete walls that cast shifting light and shadows. To enhance the impression of nothingness, Ando purposefully left spaces vacant. He designed the interiors to complement the few permanent exhibits, which include a brilliant room for Monet’s water lilies and an alien-like royal room for Walter de Maria’s sculptures.

4. Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (1996)

Oscar Niemeyer’s odd building looks as if it belongs on some other planet. The Brazilian architect creates reinforced concrete, which he shapes into white organic forms that are amusing. The Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Niemeyer and located on a balcony overlooking Guanabara Bay, resembles a massive UFO. The flying saucer is surrounded by red ramps, and 360-degree horizontal windows provide breathtaking views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer. The museum’s stark slanted walls and floors provide the ideal environment for debating avant-garde art.

5. Wall-less House (1997)

Shigeru Ban of Japan created several minimalist “case study” residences in the 1990s that raised the bar of what constitutes a building. Wall-less House, maybe his most puzzling creation, pushes the “open space” concept to its logical conclusion. Ban’s home has an open floor plan, with no separating walls and even the bathroom visible from the outside. He did, however, include tracks for sliding in moveable panels to create fluid, impermanent barriers. Ban also eliminated as many outside walls as feasible, depending on a single swooping arc that spans from the floor to the ceiling

6. Museum of Islamic Art (2008)

The Museum of Islamic Art was designed by I.M. Pei, the architect responsible for structures such as the Louvre in Paris. The Chinese-American imagined a pared-down pyramid constructed of white, randomly climbing steps, drawing inspiration from a fountain in a 13th-century mosque. The base stretches outward and is pierced with basic gray arches: an undeniably Islamic design that is devoid of decoration. The five-story museum was built over the edge of Doha’s promenade, giving the impression that it was rising out of the water. The interior is equally impressive, with a lofty domed atrium pouring light onto a twisting double staircase and octagonal floor.

7. Heydar Aliyev Center (2012)

Zaha Hadid, a British-Iraqi architect, is known for her futuristic flowing curves. The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku is one of the outstanding illustrations of her unique vision. She transformed the conference hall and cultural area into a melting white cornucopia, breaking away from the city’s hard Soviet skyline. The structure’s sweeping waves are outlined by Hadid’s austere shell, which rises from the ground. She also used undulating shapes to wrap the event spaces; Hadid’s stunning concert hall, for example, has curved rows that seem to flow up to the ceiling in uninterrupted folds.

8. St. Moritz Church (2013)

Normally, Catholic cathedrals are elaborate rooms stuffed with relics, but John Pawson of the United Kingdom turned the tables. He heightened the sensation of raw spiritual strength by eliminating all color and clutter from St. Moritz. The German church, which dates back approximately a thousand years, has been damaged by fires, bombings, and countless reconstructions. Pawson redid the floors and altar in white limestone, and he used onyx to filter the light into a lovely radiance. The outcome is a symphony in pure white, with only dark-stained wood pews and a carefully chosen collection of saintly statues beneath rounded arches to break up the space.

9. Museu do Amanhã (2015)

The Museum of Tomorrow, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is a collection of exhibitions about science and the future that resembles a white spaceship hanging over the bay. With cut-out designs influenced by the bromeliad flower, the cantilevered roof resembles a slanted skeletal wing. The Spanish architect created a lengthy reflection pool at the back of the building, with only a Frank Stella star monument breaking the surface. It’s easy to imagine yourself floating on the water—or out in space—looking out the enormous picture windows.

10. Museo Internacional del Barroco (2016)

The International Baroque Art Museum was founded by Toya Ito. The huge structure designed by a Japanese architect resembles a sequence of curved white concrete sails mirrored by water. Ito’s abstract minimalism appears to have no link to the opulent 17th-century art located inside at first glance. If you look closely, though, you’ll discover that the wave-like shapes are reminiscent of Francesco Borromini’s façade. The same contrast of light and shade that captivated Baroque artists connects the museum’s maze of chambers. A spinning circular fountain in the courtyard reflects the spectacular flow of water seen in many 17th-century sculptures.

Oladotun Olayemi
Oladotun Olayemi
Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.

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