As we approach the latest projected doomsday (Dec. 21, 2012) the end of the world is getting to be quite popular. Google “doomsday” and you will find a lot of websites with black backgrounds and urgent red lettering. Emergency bunker sales are up, according to the claims on these sites. Then there are the new reality TV shows, “Doomsday Preppers” and “Doomsday Bunkers.”
All beg the question, where would you go to “bug out?” A mountaintop, inside a mountain, underground, in a fortress, or is the best shelter a combination of these? It soon becomes evident that you have to choose what type of emergencies you are preparing for. Rising seas, pandemic, nuclear war, economic collapse, widespread anarchy, earthquake, drought, famine, pestilence, or pestilence variation in the oft-cited but as-yet fictional form of zombies. Of course, it could be a combination of the calamities listed above.
Every property has strengths and weaknesses, which can vary depending upon the particular doomsday involved. For example, an underground hideout won’t do you any good if the trouble is rising sea levels.
Only one of the following properties was designed with hardcore preppers in mind; the rest offer more stylish and genteel answers to possible future widespread problems. Some shelters are remote and well-stocked, others are defensible or harder to damage; all offer their occupants the opportunity to ride it out in style while laying low.
One thing is common throughout most of these 10 homes: They’re nearly all good for groups, because in post-apocalyptic times, people will need to stick together for survival.
Previously: Apocalypse, Wow: Disaster-Ready Homes
By Colleen KanePosted 5 April 2012
Price: $1 million for half-floor unit/ $2 million for full floor unit
Bedrooms: see below
Square footage: 900 half-floor / 1,820 full-floor unit
There are others, but the Survival Condo is the granddaddy of underground bunkers, making optimal use of an Atlas “F” missile base. This formerly used defense site was engineered by the U.S. government in 1960 with nine-foot-thick walls to withstand a nuclear blast.
Florida developer Larry Hall is creating a 15-floor complex with facilities and supplies to support between 36 and 70 people for more than five years while off the grid. Residential condos are available in full-floor and half-floor layouts, with a full floor housing six to 10 people and the half-floor housing three to five. Residents have also been promised access to a zero-edge pool with wall mural, hydroponic food-growing area, exercise facilities, classroom, library, a movie theater, surgery center and an in-house dentist/orthodontist. To monitor what’s happening on the outside, the facility also has a Remotely Piloted Vehicle, equipped with light and thermal-imaging cameras and a military grade security system with “both lethal and non-lethal defensive capabilities.”
After two pending sales go through, only two of the seven residential levels are left, for a total of two to four more units.
Location: Vermilion, Ohio
Price: $19.5 million
Bathrooms: 9 full, 7 partial
Square footage: 60,000
Waterwood Estate was built in 1991 on the shores of Lake Erie for Don Brown, inventor of the drop ceiling, and his wife Shirley, who both died in a plane crash in 2010. The modern castle compound consists of approximately 30,000 square feet of 20 above-ground concrete “pods” on 160 acres. At first it might appear residents would be exposed to attack when walking through glass corridors from pod to pod in post-apocalyptic times. However, the estate is connected by an additional 30,000 or so square feet of underground space, including streets that lead to a barber shop, five bars and a restaurant. While the Browns lived at Waterwood Estate, pairs of trained Dobermans would run the perimeter of the property each hour.
For emergency evacuation or supply-gathering missions, there’s a helipad and a garage with a rotating floor for making a fast getaway with the car pointed front-first toward the door. But when no threats are imminent, rotating-floor technology can be used for a more relaxing purpose in the dining room, allowing all guests a view of the great lake. Many more details can be read here (we just wonder what secrets they’re not revealing about this extraordinary property).
Location: Hamm, Westphalia, Germany
Square footage: approx. 1600
Instead of making a home in a bunker, here’s a house perched on top of one. “Penthouse auf Hochbunker” was built by the German firm Amort Architektur atop a partially built World War II-era bunker. The bunker was left unchanged in the build, with scars from strikes and years of ivy intact.
The structure was supposed to be nine stories, but when it was still five stories tall the war ended, so there sat the bunker for decades. Now its two-foot thick walls and nearly 45 feet of height can offer occupants of the modern penthouse protection from possible future foes such as ground attackers or looters, not to mention safety from flooding.
Location: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Square footage: N/A
Martello Tower Y in Suffolk began life in 1808 as a defense tower, to guard the shoreline and store ammunition. In 2000 it was bought as a derelict but still sturdy property by industrial designer Duncan Jackson of Billings Jackson Design. It’s protected as a Scheduled Monument on the Buildings at Risk register, so it was a combination conservation and restoration project. The curvy wooden roof over the terrace is one of the only clues to its current use.
With its 360-degree views of the surrounding fields and waters, the tower is still capable of serving its original function of spotting and fending off attackers. The 13-foot-thick brick walls make it energy-efficient to heat and ensure that little cooling is necessary. But because it’s a coastal property in a flood plain, it would not work as a refuge from flooding disasters.
Location: Ojo Caliente, N. M.
Price: $1.5 million
Square footage: N/A
Some of the hideouts in this slideshow are conspicuous, which is a weakness. The best refuges are the ones that no one suspects are there. This 206-acre property just looks like desert from above ground. However, below the ground await two cathedrals carved out of the sandstone. The larger of the two is called the Tree of Human Loving, named after a tree in the Garden of Eden.
The property is subdivided into 14 lots and outfitted with two roads, phone and electric. This potential hideout should appeal to those spiritual survivalists who hope for salvation with their apocalypse, or it might make a fine headquarters for aspiring cult leaders.
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Price: $15.9 million
Bathrooms: 7 full, 4 partial
Square footage: approx. 25,000
Campbell Cliffs was built into the side of a mountain and incorporates an existing mine shaft, which was formerly used to search for gold and mica.
In a post-apocalyptic future, the luxury property on 20 high desert acres with its “forever views” could serve as an upscale headquarters for a marksman. That sharpshooter will no doubt find the home’s Olympic-size gun range (pictured at lower right) comes in most handy for private practice.
Location: Vals, Switzerland
Price: approx. $5,000/week to rent (high season)
Bedrooms: sleeps 10 - 12
Square footage: 1,700
Designed by Bjarne Mastenbroek of SeARCH and Christian Müller of CMA, this amazing home cut into the Swiss Alps is a neighbor to the prize-winning architectural destination Therme Vals hotel/spa complex.
Villa Vals uses no fossil fuel, only hydroelectric power from the Zervrelia Reservoir. Even the hot tub (pictured at bottom row, center) runs on firewood. The approximately 645 square-foot terrace offers plenty of room to stockpile that firewood. A subterranean tunnel (pictured at lower right) leads up the mountainside to a “Graubünder barn” (a traditional barn built in the traditional style of the region, pictured at lower left), should an undetected escape become necessary, or perhaps if the occupants need access to safely stowed cows to handcraft some Swiss cheese.
The view ain’t bad, either.
Location: Zermatt, Switzerland
Square footage: N/A
This one might appeal to a certain type of survivor who prefers to live over merely survive. Where better to sit out the end of the world than a former five-star boutique hotel in the mountain resort town of Zermatt.
This luxury property features panoramic views of the village and surrounding Alps and enough indoor firewood storage to ensure not having to leave the house for quite some time. There’s a gym to get fit and a wine cellar to ensure a long-lasting supply of wine.
Location: Glouchestershire, England
Square footage: N/A
The Round Tower was a Grade II Listed folly that had long sat in ruin. Now, after an imaginative reworking by De Matos Ryan, it’s the front door of a contemporary semi-subterranean house. Because it’s set underground with concrete walls, it’s energy-efficient.
In a post-disaster future, the lower house could be sealed off from intruders, and even concealed. The ancient tower that now serves as a roof terrace could again be used for a classic defense site.
Location: Western Australia, Australia
Square footage: N/A
Drought is a more immediate danger than flooding in Australia. This farm addresses that potential disaster and ensures the possibility of food production in times of scarcity with a system of 27 dams, soaks, tanks and high capacity bores. The 7.5-acre property has a large underground aquifer for irrigation and productive soil.
Also on the property is a large house dam stocked with bream and perch; other dams throughout the grounds are stocked with yabbies (crayfish). Up to 1,200 head of cattle may be kept on the land.