Published November 09, 2007
Toilet times, they are a changing.
While most look at the porcelain bowl as the receptacle of all things foul and malodorous, a South Korean man nicknamed Mr. Toilet sees hope.
Sim Jae-duck, the chairman of the organizing committee of the World Toilet Association General Assembly, gave reporters their first look Friday inside the world's only "toilet house," Haewoojae, in the city of Suwon, south of Seoul, South Korea.
Built for the Nov. 21 inaugural meeting of the association, the two-story toilet house is set to be completed on Sunday as a monument to the porcelain god — as well as a symbol for the need for better sanitation worldwide.
"The toilet should no longer be left on the sidelines," Sim said this spring, presenting his lavatory platform to an assembly in Bali. "It must become the center of our attention.
"The toilet is not merely a place for excretion — it can save humankind from diseases," he continued. "A place of relaxation and purging, the toilet is a place for introspection. The toilet is also a central living place that possesses culture."
The 4,508-square-foot house has two bedrooms, two guestrooms and three deluxe toilets, according to reports.
Haewoojae roughly translates to "a place of sanctuary where one can solve one's worries."
The structure was built in Suwon, a city of 1 million known for its "exemplary toilets" and the home of South Korea's modern toilet movement. No wonder why; Mr. Toilet himself used to be its mayor.