by Devanshi ShahApr 15, 2021
Doomsday preppers are notoriously well known for their overly cautious and often ambitious preparation kits. While storing and stocking up on food and basic necessities has become commonplace, especially considering the lockdowns that were imposed globally due to the ongoing pandemic, there are however many who have taken it a step further. The idea of creating sealed bunkers for long-term housing has seen a steady rise in the recent years. As the Doomsday Clock continues to close in on the midnight hour the preppers have gotten more ambitious with their bunkers.
One such luxury bunker has been recently designed by ABIBOO Studio. Combining their learnings from their recent Martian project in collaboration with SONet, and their decades worth of building luxury homes across Europe and America, the studio’s bunker is more than just a survival shelter. Titled DBX Bunker, this shelter is not just a safe abode for a yet to occur apocalypse, it is also meant to be a self-sufficient second home. ABIBOO Studio founder, Alfredo Muñoz, in a comment to STIR, explains the design strategy behind the aesthetic and concept of the survival shelter. “In this case the project is also perceived as a second home, so it is a combination of the Doomsday scenario and luxury. As a habitat that has to be used as such, there is a complete closure from any relationship with nature or any relationship with the outside world, this can create a lot of anxiety. So, it was important for us from the design point of view to create spaces that are safe and also strong in their identity and can ensure that people can live for long periods of time without feeling constrained, or depressed”.
One of the ways in which the underground abode is designed to combat this is by incorporating green spaces inside the bunker with the use of hydroponic farms. This serves a dual purpose of giving the bunker some semblance of the outside and also creating a sustainable system of food supply. The 12,000 square foot shelter is equipped with numerous activities that go beyond the act of basic survival and address the more human aspects of living. A lot of the design in this case looks at the ways of preventing the mental and physical effects of cabin fever. Set on a modular grid the shelter can accommodate a maximum of ten people in comfortable quarters.
Each bedroom has its en-suite bathroom with custom-made furniture, marble finishes, and showers with built-in saunas. The common areas such as the living room, cinema hall and game room are located around the indoor garden, allowing the occupants to experience a slice of nature while underground. Physical activity and general health are addressed with the inclusion of a gym, furnished with the latest training machines, and a small swimming pool of 12 by 32 feet. Some of the other modular spaces are designated as the kitchen, a bar, a laundry room, an office, and a small surgery room with supplies of medicine and equipment. The bunker also has a small shooting range intended for self-defence practice.
The extensive programme of the bunker builds on Muñoz's intention to create a prototype. He explains, “One of the things we wanted to do with the DBX bunker was not only to provide a solution for the project in South Carolina but also provide a system that could be applied to other potential luxury bunkers. Because it is modular you can cut it however you want and still have it operational. So, we can expand some of the modules very easily and accommodate for different system requirements”. The scalability of the project grows out of its modular nature. Utilising elongated metal vaults that are used to distribute the load of the underground structure, the ceiling is reinforced with the use of inverted beams, which provide additional stability to withstand the impact of bombs.
Accessed through a military-grade door, camouflaged on a green-covered hill, the entrance is built with reinforced materials that can only be opened with a personal remote key. “A lot of the potential scenarios that we can work with are basically about ensuring that the structure is safe and the life support systems provided in the bunker are effective,” adds Muñoz. An additional decontamination system for air purification is located in the airtight cabin at the bunker's entrance. This room prevents the entry of pollutants into the main home space. A sterilising air shower and a wet shower act as a sanitary barrier. This technical solution is similar to the one used by virological research centres and minimises the risk of contamination inside the house. The DBX shelter gets its energy through geothermal and biomass accumulators. The heating and cooling systems also use geothermal energy. The water is extracted from the subsoil and passes through a filtration system and ultraviolet light that kills bacteria.
Building with the assumption of an extreme condition, while the said condition doesn't exist yet, requires a lot of technical knowledge and research. The details of the design are based on hypotheticals and test conditions. The events that one needs to protect against continue to grow from airborne disease to nuclear fallout, the reasons to require and need a haven continue to multiply. The notion of building these bunkers is no longer something that remains in the realm of science fiction. It is very much a fact with numerous projects being constructed while their locations continue to remain concealed.