MINIMALISM in architecture is about stripping a building or space to its basic and necessary elements. Simple lines and neat planes often compose a “minimalist” design.

Every element or detail serves a purpose other than just being something that strikes the eyes.

Some people could raise their eyebrows at the minimalist approach in design. What’s there to appreciate in the absence of complimentary elements and ornamentations? Is this a symptom of laziness or mental burnout in the architect? This could be a nightmare for people with “horror vacui” or fear of vacant spaces.

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But it was not the case for a young and dynamic businessman—he is into sports and anything “techie”—when he sought the services of architect Philip Khan Lim for his boxy yet eye-catching two-story residence in Mabolo. The residence occupies a 400-square-meter lot with a total floor area of 280 square meters. The architect reveals that his client wanted “simple, basic and plain,” and that this was the first time that he worked with a Chinese client who was not too particular about feng shui. This ancient practice, he adds, often compromises some approaches in architectural space programming.

Being a techie, the client also wanted his house to reflect that side of his personality. Thus the design integrated some information technology-based systems, like getting the building a Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) connection. It also employs a “digitally monitored” water pressure boosters, and regulators as well as automatic water softeners.

“More ‘young’ people are getting opportunities to have their own personal spaces and residences. They are now beginning to accept and appreciate more the contemporary approach to architectural design. In every project, I always strive to go beyond aesthetics and also put prime consideration on functionality,” shares Philip.

Has this building jumped into the so-called “green architecture” bandwagon? Well, it uses a rainwater cistern and its rooms were properly oriented to maximize natural lighting and ventilation. Trees were also strategically planted on the side exposed to the late afternoon. It may not have gone entirely green, but it is doing its part for the environment.

Yes, guys, there is beauty in simplicity. In “minimalism,” the building and spaces spew their beauty through the play of light, both natural and artificial, as they touch simple geometric forms. Light landing on different surfaces could evoke varied types of mood, and allow an avenue for appreciation for the observer.

“Aside from lesser cost, the building is also easy to maintain, more flexible and easier to upgrade with this design approach,” the architect says.

You see, even with the seemingly less-fuss design, there is actually a lot of thought and strategizing involved in producing remarkable minimalist buildings that are worth public appreciation. Now I can see more heads nodding in agreement to the famous line, “less is more”, that notable architect Ludwig Mies Van De Rohe once said.