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Aguas Claras House

The Discipline of Simplicity

Eduardo Castillo

The Japanese word wabi signifies “poverty”, or more specifically “voluntary poverty”, where privation is a revolutionary act conducted to attain spiritual freedom unfettered by the desire for material goods. It involves reducing, purifying, freeing oneself from clutter and ornament in order to reach the profound essence of existence. Turning this concept into architecture demands a simplicity devoid of pretense or vulgarity. Wabi does not focus on refined detail, nor on cost or the effort that has gone into making what exists but rather seeks the profound beauty that resides in the unexpressed, the non-manifest, eschewing excess and arrogance in favor of humility and reticence. Irregularity and imperfections are therefore intrinsic characteristics of this approach based on simplicity, austerity, naturalness and intangibility.

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