Ma and Minimalism: Architecture of the void, the in-between and the transparent
Minimalism is a term generally referring to the idea of simplicity and stripping things down to their essentials. Correspondingly, the Japanese concept of 'ma' is about the pure and essential void between things. In life, both ma and minimalism emphasise simple living, and value the quality of lives and experiences. Ma is the essence of minimalism and the search for potential and meanings in emptiness. It is also the heart of the Japanese aesthetic that appreciates the idea of ‘less is more.'
This thesis begins with the proposition that there is beauty and something profound in the void created when there is less. Ma is what Arata Isozaki described as the natural distance, natural pause or interval, or part of the ‘culture of gray’ discussed by Kisho Kurokawa. Similarly, Sou Fujimoto’s in-between architecture can be identified as part of ma. The aim of the research is to gain an in-depth understanding of these concepts and explore them in architectural design. The making process includes explorations into calligraphy, known as one of the arts of ma, and also a series of model making that examines simple geometry and the interplay between the three areas of focus for this thesis: the void, the in-between and the transparent.