Amber Fisher

Since its early beginnings nearly a century ago, minimalist design has gone from an artistic movement to a way of life, proving the philosophy’s staying power. The minimalistic principles of simplistic utility can benefit a building’s structure. Are you maximizing the opportunities for minimalistic design beyond the façade—where clients readily see it—to within its very wall assembly? Here’s how.

“Less is More”
The influential architect who popularized the “Less is More” axiom at the heart of Minimalism, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, honed his style to what he called “skin and bones”—prioritizing structural order and free-flowing space. What do you get when you remove all ornamentation and excess materials from your design? Iconic buildings like Mies’s sleek Seagram Building in New York City and his Farnsworth House nature retreat in Illinois, both of which stand the test of time.

Originating from post-World War I austerity, minimalist architecture focuses on reducing a design framework to its most necessary elements and cutting out the rest, stripping the design down to its most essential form and functionality.

There’s a reason minimalism still garners interest today: efficiency … of materials, of structural balance, and of overall visual interest. Simplifying the wall assembly design bears the same results.

Simplify the Process, Simplify the Results
Like Minimalism’s initial rejection of previously popular lavish decorative styles, eliminating excess from the wall assembly itself is now also turning heads. What happens when you reduce the envelope to its most essential aspects? To start, you have fewer materials, fewer needs for skilled labor, and efficient time and cost savings.

One area that is currently innovating structural simplicity is in weatherproofing. Whereas past designs have relied on layering separate water-resistive barrier and air barriers (WRB-ABs) onto the sheathing before installing the cladding, today’s minimalistic approach incorporates the WRB-AB into the sheathing, with fully compatible accessories, to eliminate excess materials and installation needs while delivering a reliable end result.

By carrying over the same emphasis on simplicity and structure, you can maximize utility of the materials you choose. Extend a minimalistic philosophy into your envelope design by developing a wall assembly that ensures an easy and accurate transition from design through constructability.

To create a unified sheathing and waterproofing system, select compatible products that will ensure WRB-AB continuity by providing a complete single-source water- and air-control system that’s also compatible across today’s leading cladding styles for a sharp minimalistic finish.

Already tested and compatible across the wall assembly, DensDefy Accessories are easy to specify as part of the envelope structure. DensElement Barrier System provides a gypsum sheathing with the WRB-AB built in, and DensDefy Liquid Flashing completes the system by sealing all joints and seams. Then DensDefy Transition Membrane covers any joints, gaps, and distinct transitions as needed.

See how carrying over minimalistic simplicity to your envelope design and functionality also benefits the building’s designer, contractor, owner, and end user. To learn more about how DensDefy Accessories can simplify the envelope on your next minimalist design, visit and request a demo kit.

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