When you got to go, go to Kawakawa

The quirky and colour­ful Kawakawa public toi­lets are a tourist at­trac­tion, writes David Bow­den

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

the funds for the new park wouldn’t take long at all.

HUNDERTWASSER VI­EN­NESE HOME Be­fore he re­lo­cated to New Zealand, the age­ing hip­pie Hundertwasser was com­mis­sioned to re­design some coun­cil apart­mentsin­hishome­townofVi­enna, theAus­trian cap­i­tal.

The area was an unas­sum­ing part of Land­strasse and Vi­enna’s third largest res­i­den­tial district that was trans­formed from an ur­ban waste­land into what is now known as Hun­dert­wasser­haus.

These hig­gledy-pig­gledy houses have a child-like ap­pear­ance of colour­ful tex­tures that im­me­di­ately cap­tured the at­ten­tion of all who came to see it (and still do).

The only ones not too happy about it were ar­chi­tects who saw them as too artis­tic but like Gaudi in Barcelona, the aca­demics have been proven wrong.

Peo­ple love the za­ni­ness of Hundertwasser’s cre­ation.

They came in droves and started to drive the lo­cals crazy by ask­ing for per­sonal in­spec­tions of the in­te­ri­ors of the apart­ments but it was only the ex­te­rior that Hundertwasser marked his ter­ri­tory.

How­ever, he obliged and erected the Kalke Vil­lage just op­po­site the apart­ments, and with a cafe, bar and in­for­ma­tion cen- tre, ad­mir­ers could ap­pre­ci­ate his cre­ation with­out dis­turb­ing the res­i­dents.


Now it’s ap­pro­pri­ate, since we have al­ready come to grips with talk­ing about pri­vate mat­ters in public about the con­ve­nience of toi­lets.

Imag­ine life with­out toi­lets and imag­ine travel with­out at least one hor­rific toi­let ex­pe­ri­ence to share at your next din­ner party.

In days gone by, toi­lets were on the out­side of build­ings but they even­tu­ally made it in­doors, thanks to an in­ven­tion by Thomas Crapper (and no; I’m not mak­ing this up).

I have Bill Bryson and his fas­ci­nat­ing book At Home to thank for this in­sight­ful ob­ser­va­tion.

Young Crapper was an ap­pren­tice plumber in Lon­don who in­vented the cis­tern for the flush­ing toi­let.

Bryson notes that this was called the Marl­boro Silent Wa­ter Waste Preven­ter which con­ve­niently re­moved wastes from the in­te­rior of build­ings into the sewer.


Fa­mous peo­ple lend their name to public build­ings, parks, streets and mon­u­ments all over the world and while nam­ing rights to a public toi­let may not be what most of With such de­sign, you won’t miss the Hundertwasser public toi­lets in Kawakawa; What’s inside the Hundertwasser public toi­let.

Hundertwasser’s houses in Vi­enna.

us aspire to, Hundertwasser ap­pears to be happy that the jewel in his artis­tic and de­sign crown is his colour­ful toi­let block in the cen­tre of this small town.

In Kawakawa, he cre­ated his bit of par­adise, sur­rounded by trees, wa­ters and hum­ble, sim­ple build­ings.

He was quoted as say­ing: “We live in par­adise, but we don’t know it. We live in par­adise, but we con­stantly de­stroy it.”

Next time you’re pass­ing through Kawakawa, drop by and check out Hundertwasser’s hand­i­work. Share a bit of the magic that he cre­ated. You will be flushed with hap­pi­ness af­ter your visit.

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