There are researchers who calculated how much time we spend on the toilet: months or even years. But "Mr Toilet", Sim Jae-duck, a South Korean National Assembly representative, has chosen to spend his life in one. Located in Suwon, 40 km (25 mi) from Seoul, there is the world's first "Toilet House", named "Haewoojae" ("a place where one can solve one's worries"), shaped like a toilet bowl which is 24 1/2 feet (7.5 m) tall, with a surface of 4,520 square feet (500 square meters).
The toilet bowl-shaped house could turn into a symbol for a movement whose goal is solving a huge issue: world's toilet sanitation. The house commemorates the World Toilet Association's (WTAA's) general assembly taking place from November 21 to 25 in
"We want the Haewoojae to change the unpleasant concepts surrounding toilets and the misperceptions about toilets. We should learn to go beyond seeing toilets as just a place for defecation, but also as a place of culture where people can rest, meditate and be happy," said Sim, chairman of the organizing committee of the WTAA.
The two-story Haewoojae has a toilet constructed right in the center of the house and overall four hi-tech toilets. The center toilet is pellucid but as soon as movement is felt by the sensor, the glass walls fog up and thus the user has his/her own privacy.
The house was designed by Ko Kiwoong and built over the place where Sim had his home in the last 30 years.
"I was committed to making a pleasant toilet-shaped house and we wanted to emphasize the house's eco-friendly features, including the use of rainwater as an energy resource and water-saving facility via a 3.5-tonne rain water tank. We also made use of solar panels and installed it with facilities to purify sewage. 50 % of daily water usage is consumed in toilets, so it's a good idea if we learn to conserve and recycle water and be an example to others as well. Haewoojae's toilets use 70% less water than the average toilet," said Ko.
Sim also turned his toilets into a cultural space where soothing music can be heard and walls are decorated by paintings and nature scenes.
Sim will rent the house for US$50,000 per night to raise funds.
"It is not about the money. The most important thing for us is to find someone who shares our ideas and goals of improving toilet sanitation worldwide and who will be dedicated in spreading this cause," he said.
The Toilet House could be turned into a museum for people wanting to learn more about toilet sanitation.
"My dream is for the whole world to work together to allow everyone to enjoy sanitary, cultural and environment-friendly toilets. I want no one to suffer from the absence of toilet facilities. It is, after all, a basic human right to have access to clean toilets, however basic these may be. We are trying to make a statement via the Toilet House, that it's about time to break the taboo about toilets and that it's time that we talk about this problem facing 2.6 billion people around the world," said Sim.