Is Less More or is Less a Bore?

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe vs. Robert Venturi, Jr.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” in describing his aesthetic for extreme simplicity in the Modern Architecture movement. Modern Architecture is also known for its minimalism; buildings were functional and economical rather than comfortable and beautifully decorated. Starkness won out over ornamentation.

Architect Robert Venturi, Jr., by contrast, said “Less is a bore”. Venturi desired and sought to bring back ornamental and decorative elements to architecture. The decorative elements in buildings provide both needed and necessary variety.

I tend to prefer detailing in architecture. Imagine the French window. The arch. Crown molding. Wainscot. They all bring visual art to an otherwise blank canvas.

Note the details on this house exterior.

Here's a charming gate with beautiful hardware.
Detailed ironwork and lantern.


I’ve also been in modern homes where the walls were glass and the “art” was nature herself outside the windows. Nature always captures my attention and I can easily live in a home with walls of windows with beautiful views. For me, this style of less is definitely more.

Modern Home with Center Atrium in Minneapolis
Floor to ceiling windows provide expansive outdoor views.

There will likely always be a variety of homes for buyers to choose from: homes that offer great detailing and homes that offer minimal detailing. Which type do you prefer?