by Jerry ElengicalNov 27, 2021
Want to escape a raging pandemic or an infestation of blood hungry zombies? Sergey Makhno Architects have your back with their conceptual safe house, Underground House Plan B that attempts “to create a cosy and safe home in the depths of the earth”. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic urged the design of the drawing board project dominated by two concrete forms and an opulent helipad on its massive circular roof. The structure can be placed near a main house or in the middle of the woods, away from civilisation, designed in a way that people would like to spend their vacations time in, even in the absence of invisible viruses.
Imagined for a post pandemic, post-apocalyptic reality, the drawing board project is led by Serhii Makhno, founder and creative leader of Ukrainian design, architecture and ceramics studio who shares that Plan B is designed across a huge area of 2,280 sqm that can accommodate comfortable living spaces for two or three families with children and staff.
The design proposal’s monstrous form is informed by two crisp, bone white concrete volumes – a flat teacup with its top filled in, acting as the structure’s helipad roof stacked atop an elongated cuboid with a curved entrance hollowed out of its bulk. Looking like something out of a Hollywood sci-fi film, the bunker is shown placed amid a woodland in Ukraine with clear skies and a thicket of trees in the distance. “We tried to create a simple and concise form, which would speak of reliability, and also be aesthetically attractive,” shares Makhno.
Its main entrance resembles that of a museum of modern art, or even an alien military base, with its automatic doors that can also be controlled manually. A disinfection entrance shield is placed right next on arrival, and behind it is a quartz zone. The upper volume reaches a depth of 15 metres below ground and comprises expansive living spaces, a floor with a water treatment system and generator, a large food warehouse, a layer of electrical equipment, and a well at the very bottom. A spiral staircase and elevator descend into the timber clad living room where a resplendent tree takes space, encased within glass walls. This central light well illuminates the book shelved walls and the piano backed space.
The conceptual renders show another layer of this area that features a long, curved screen with a home theatre setup fronted with comfortable beige cushioned chairs, “powerful acoustics, a 5D system, and a collection of the best films of all time,” shares the design team. Two flights of spiral staircases for staff and loading stocks are incorporated separately so that service and personal circulation routes do not interfere with each other.
“All systems in Plan B underground bunker are autonomous. Water supply, sewerage, closed ventilation system with recuperation, intake, and air purification. Whatever happens on the earth's surface, life in Plan B will continue,” continues Makhno. Underground House Plan B has three exits, while the fire-resistant evacuation ring can be accessed from anywhere. “The inhabitants need not worry about being stuck inside or waste time getting to an exit because of the huge floor area – they can immediately get to the evacuation route, for example, from the bathroom or gym,” informs the design team.
The bunker is also envisioned to have a fish pool, while a separate room houses a garden with phyto-equipment, where one can grow vegetables and fruits. There is also a separate room for medical care, with an isolator and a closed area for storing stocks of medicines, and another room for walking pets.
The rest of the cavernous hideout also has minimal, strikingly bare interior design. Its two vast master bedrooms comprise sleeping areas, an enclosed storage area and a lavish bathroom. The terrestrial master bedroom ‘Mickey’ is a bare, calm space, a Kaws figurine placed above the bed along with dark KHMARA clouds from Serhii Makhno, “which never rain” hanging overhead. “If you pay attention to the architecture, you will notice the lack of sharp angles - the shape of the room is almost cylindrical. This technique is not often used in terrestrial architecture, but here it immediately helps us to create the illusion of infinity, as if the walls just do not exist,” says Makhno.
A stone garden sits at the opposite of the bed, separated by a highly sensitive screen-window, the view of which can be changed from a snow-capped mountain range to a lazy morning street in Kyiv, at the touch of a button on the control panel of the Smart Home system. One can also open the window to let in a light breeze accompanied by the smell of freshly cut grass. How these underground plants are being watered or receiving natural ventilation, is still up for question though.
Master bedroom ‘Ivy’ is also a massive bedroom where stainless steel makes an appearance, dividing the space into sleeping, storage and shower area. Sergey Makhno Architects involved a play of layered lights in the domed ceiling of this room, fitting it with an LED system that gives an illusion of a stretched sky above the inhabitant’s heads. The empty space stands for calmness and stillness, decorated by quiet ivy strands that grow sans sunlight.
The roomy kitchen is downright professional in its stainless steel surface settings and here too, one can see the bulbous KHMARA clouds, chrome Tetrapods and an imitation green wall. Techno green lighting accompanies the gym spaces that are placed near the pool area. A Zen like meditation room features a small, faux water body in its centre, reflecting the simulated sky on the ceiling. All of the residential design, with its bare and flowy surfaces create a feeling of infinite lightness, according to the architects.
"This project is a reflection on the continuation of human life under any circumstances, and an attempt to find an answer to the question of whether architecture can create the impression of life at the surface while being in its depths," concludes Serhii Makhno.
Name: Plan B
Area: 2,280 sqm
Architect: Sergey Makhno Architects
Design team: Sergey Makhno, Olha Sobchyshyna, Oleksandr Makhno, Ihor Havrylenko, Maryna Hrechko, Oleksandr Bokhan, Serhii Filonchuk, Tatiana Vakula, Maria Fedko, Daria Sushko
Visual design: Ihor Havrylenko