Modern Architecture and my love of Windows Phone UI

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For readers who do not know, I am an architect by training. Back in Architecture school, I easily fell in love with the reknowned French architect, Le Corbusier – one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He certainly was one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century.

Villa Savoye

His unconventional method and innovative minimalistic thinking make Le Corbusier a true master of minimalistic architecture. Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye (above) made such a huge impression on me – and that impression has never left. Clean lines. Lots of space. Elegance. From the time I was introduced to Le Corbusier’s works, I knew that I was stuck on minimalism.

Another famous architect, this time American, was Frank Lloyd Wright. While he would hate to be labelled a modernist, his architecture reflected this clearly – same clean lines, lots of space, and elegance. I fell in love with his style immediately. Have a look at one of his works, Fansworth House:

farnsworth house

Simplicity. Beauty. Elegance.

After running into Le Corbu and Frank Lloyd Wright, for the rest of my course in Architecture school, I couldn’t get away from modernist designs. I have not practised Architecture since graduation, but there stands one building that was designed ground up by me, and it reflects my modernist leanings. It stands as a product of years of ogling Villa Savoye and Fansworth House, among others.

Windows Phone is modernist

Common themes of modernist architecture include:
– simplicity and clarity of forms
– elimination of “unnecessary detail”
– use of industrially-produced materials
– a visual emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines
– adoption of the machine aesthetic

Lumia 920

Windows Phone’s user interface reflects my roots in Architecture – roots in minimalism and modernism. Some complain that lots of space is wasted in the UI. I see it as perfect. Give me space. Give me simplicity. Give me elegance. I have no idea what went into the design of the Windows Phone UI, but it is looking to me like people with strong modernist leanings were at the core of the design team. And that just floats my boat like nothing else does.

The Windows Phone UI is breathtakingly more beautiful and refreshing to use. It reminds me of a spacious open beach or the countryside. Android reminds me of the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Lagos. This is why I cannot stay away from Windows Phone, though I find Android more feature-packed. Thankfully, Windows Phone is much better now than it used to be. My experience with Windows Phone 7 was…. sigh. But Windows Phone 8 is leaps and bounds better and it is now a very capable platform. It can only get better. But however Windows Phone evolves, may Microsoft never ditch this elegant user interface that many have fallen in love with. Not unless they are replacing it with something even more elegant.


  1. Thank you for this article, people never seem to understand when I say the reason love the windows phones ui and Bb os ui was because of their minimalist designs.

  2. Minimalism, frugality, asceticism, puritanism…these words come first in my dictionary.

    I hate clutter. I abhor wanton wastefulness.


    while some people would buy a device for its ornamental or decorative value, I use a device for its utilitarian prowess.

    Give me Android, or give me ANDROID !!!

  3. The Windows Phone UI is breathtakingly more beautiful and refreshing to use. It reminds me of a spacious open beach or the countryside. Android reminds me of the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Lagos

    How interesting those are almost the exact words I shared with someone recently. I’d rather have my minimalist Windows Phone than bloat and clutter I don’t need on any device.

  4. isn’t it obvious, I am beginning to get bored with the Android drag….. ah that was after windows 8 came!

  5. Simple looking? Yes. Easy to opperate? NO. I still find windows phone 8 too COMPLICATED to opperate. Why cant i swipe down to get notifications? Why on earth do i toggle bluetooth from settings? Why is everything listed vertically? Why no multiple home screens? If not for nokia’s navigation, i wont even dream of buying a windows phone 8. To me, android is the most simple touch device to use.

  6. @Mark, perhaps that’s because you’re using an Android perspective to look at Windows Phone. Because Android offers multiple home screens or a swipe-down notification screen(which is coming by the way) does not mean that it is a must on other mobile operating systems

  7. Correct. How many android phones are out there? How many iphones are out there, now lets now calculate how many windows phone 8 are out there. Am telling you, most people’s first phone is either an android or iphone. To have to learn to use another O.S is stressful. Why do you tink that firefox and sailfish O.S have almost the same operating standard as android? Its because they dont want people to scratch their head trying to find where the setting is. Driving a car follows the same principle, we all know that for manual cars, reverse is either up or down, no SANE car manufacturer will put reverse in between gears 1 or 3. Not all of us have the patience of learning something new from scratch, we have better things to do. Windows phone 8 is beautiful but thats all it has. People are still sceptical about windows 8 on pc sef. Change should be gradual not immediate.

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