Doomsday Bunkers: These Are The Coolest Bunkers Ever
A fake lawn sprawls before the doors of this Las Vegas bunker. (The Verge)
Everyone on Earth will someday have to confront the fact that they will die. Some people leave it at that, content to literally shrug off this mortal coil. Others obsess about it—and start getting ready for it. In a world as unstable as ours, is it any wonder some people get unstable, too? Here are 15 of the wildest doomsday bunkers known to man.
Las Vegas's "Outdoor" Bunker
Just because the world has come to an end doesn't mean your hobbies have to. This flamingo-pink, 15,200-square-foot fallout shelter will keep you occupied through the apocalypse with any "outdoor" activity you might desire. It's got fake trees, fake grass, and even a fake countryside to admire. To top it all off, a putting green, swimming pool, sauna, two hot tubs, a dance floor (and bar), and adjustable light settings for anytime of day are all within a hopefully nonmutated arm's reach. Yes, there are fake stars. It was built in 1978 to outlive a nuclear blast; at the very least, it has outlived fashion.
Greenbrier Resort. (Mental Floss)
The Greenbrier Resort & Bunker
Constructed in the 1950s by men who weren't allowed to know what they were building, "Project Greek Island" was a closely guarded secret until 1992, when journalist Ted Gup let the cat out of the bag. Greenbrier is located 20 feet underground in West Virginia, but don’t worry, an advanced ventilation system is ready to take care of radiation as well as oxygen to keep things from getting too claustrophobic. Two feet of concrete and a layer of steel cocoon the massive complex, which includes two rooms for congressmen and senators to hold sessions, a TV studio, and rather uninspiring metal bunk beds. The idea behind the bunker was not so much to stay alive in style as to keep the government running in the wake of whatever disaster cropped up next.
Penthouse, Survival Condo. (Survival Condo)
Survival Condo Project
The Survival Condo Project is where billionaires go to hunker down. Burrowed 15 stories deep in the in-demand city of Concordia, Kansas (population: less than 6,000), the Survival Condos are built in an old missile silo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intended it to house the Atlas "F" missile in the '60s, and if founder Larry Hall starts getting itchy, there are over 70 more in the country. The walls, made of epoxy-hardened concrete, are 9 feet thick. No need to fear attack from above, either—the silo's dome can handle winds over 500 mph.
About 70 people can live in one of these silos, but it ain't cheap. Just one condo in the 2,000-square-foot range costs between $1.5 and $3 million. That being said, accommodations do include flat-screen TVs, pools, an oddly superhero-speckled gym, educational accommodations, and even a medical unit. Food is included, air is filtered, and a military-grade security system keeps the whole thing from being infiltrated by plebs looking for a sweet, sweet sustainable power and farming fix. With blast-resistant doors, they couldn't even explode their way in.
Vivos Indiana dining area. (Terra Vivos)
California-based Vivos has started a veritable chain of doomsday houses. The first, based in Indiana, was built to accommodate up to 80 people and has been sold out. The second, named Europa One, is more ambitious. It's intended to house over 1,000 people on 76 acres of revamped Soviet-era bunkers in Rothenstein, Germany. Built into a limestone mountain, Vivos claims that Europa One could survive a direct airplane crash, biological and chemical agents, shock waves, earthquakes, and electromagnetic pulses. It's also "tsunami-proof," which doesn't seem that hard when you're 300 miles from the ocean. Finally, Vivo xPoint, near the Black Hills of South Dakota, has 575 units that fit about 10-20 people apiece. Rather disconcertingly, the name comes from "the point in time that only the prepared people will survive."
Don't worry, they aren’t skimping on the accommodations. For just $35,000 (plus $1,000 a year—for upkeep, perhaps), you can hole up in what the company describes as a four-star hotel. The rooms have high ceilings and the kind of cushy, wood-and-leather look of a corporate retreat. They also have enough food for a year, guns 'n' ammo, and the ever-important air filtration system.
Living/dining area of Silo Home. (Inhabitat)
Up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, long an enclave for New York's city-fatigued jet-setters, there is a surprisingly beautiful bunker with the lackluster name Silo Home. Like the Survival Condo, it sits atop a former Atlas "F" missile site. The Silo Home looks normal from the outset and even boasts 1,800 square feet on just the main levels. To get to the two additional subterranean levels, you'll have to head down the supervillain-looking spiral staircase. Once there, you'll find 2,300 square feet of space, including two more bedrooms, Jacuzzi tubs, a kitchen, a dining room, and a space to entertain. Three feet of concrete reinforced with steel mesh will keep you from the mole men eager to pillage your pad. If that's not enough, the downstairs doors are blast-proof—and 2,000 lbs. apiece. The full Silo Home has over 12,000 square feet, with additional levels underground and access by plane or car.
The Oppidum pool deck, lit with artificial light. (Mother Nature Network)
Lest you thought these bunkers were the purview of only crazy (rich) Americans, we bring you The Oppidum. Like many of the others on our list, it was built during the Cold War, and the exterior is original. Creator Jakub Zamrazil and his co-founders postulate that the rich and powerful could live there for 10 years, though they refuse to release how rich you'd need to be. It has medical facilities, a spa, a movie theater, libraries, and conference rooms, and it was meant to handle anything we could throw at it: pandemics, nuclear fallout, and even natural disasters. Up top, it has a golf course and tennis courts as well as a helipad. Below, seven apartments (one large, six smaller) take over two floors with over 77,000 square feet of mind-blowing space. It's the largest single-buyer bunker in the world, but if you want a custom bunker, they do that, too.
Cows graze outside Villa Vals, Switzerland. (Business Insider)
Villa Vils takes us back to Europe for a home that is built half-in, half-out of the mountainside. One of the cozier options, it has enough room for only 10 people, each of whom can distract themselves from the doom outside with king-size beds, a library, and a TV room. It runs on hydroelectric power generated by the nearby Zerveila reservoir, and it's just a gas mask's throw from Vals 's famous thermal baths. With 1,700 square feet to cuddle up in and only a patio visible from a bird's-eye view, Villa Vals is the secret, romantic Swiss lair you've always wanted.
Pyongyang Metro. (Wikipedia)
At 360 feet underground, the world's deepest metro system pulls double duty as a nuclear bunker. While not luxurious, it's full of priceless antiques, including old subway cars from Berlin that were sent over in the late 1990s. Its mosaic art spans the walls and climbs up the ceilings in bright, cheerful support of the "socialist realism" décor. The metro still runs, and in 2015, tourists were allowed to see more of its 17 stops than the two to which they had been restricted.
Unfinished diesel station bunker, Kiev. (Urbex Tour)
Abandoned for nearly 30 years, the unfinished Kiev nuclear bunkers run parallel to the subway nearby. Today, last-resistant doors stand open and rusting away as stalactites drip from the ceilings, but it wasn't always so. The government kept up with the site through the 1980s, and FP-300 air filters can still be found in the forgotten hallways. Heavily guarded by police, it's not likely that this sprawling underground safeguard will be flipped anytime soon.
A typical bomb shelter in an HDB apartment. (Reno Talk)
Singapore HDB Flats
Since 1996, every flat in Singapore has included a household shelter, as mandated by the Housing & Development Board. While these vary in their use, from storage rooms to quarters for "the help," each shelter is reinforced on all sides, including a custom-made door. The HDB urges people not to hack or drill into the shelter and avoid certain fixtures that could "become hazardous." Lights, electrical sockets, telephone, TV, and radio connection points are provided, so at least you can talk to other people when you're trapped in your panic box.
Cheyenne Mountain’s North Portal. (Wikimedia)
Back in America, Cheyenne Mountain cost over $142 million and over 500 explosives by the time it was completed in 1966 for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Essentially built as a city for the Air Force, it is the only known mountain with buildings inside it and space for over 800 people. Not content with swaddling the area in a literal mountain, the 11 multi-story buildings are layered with steel and granite behind the ever-popular blast-proof doors. They can even handle earthquakes of up to 1,000 lbs. of shock. Fittingly spartan, Cheyenne Mountain boasts not its beautiful entertainment facilities but is lauded as the "mother of all bunkers" for its 1.5-million-gallon water capacity and multi-point air filtration.
Svalbard Seed Vault at night. (Wikimedia)
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The purpose of this bunker isn't so much to protect individual humans as it is to protect all of humanity. In case all our plants get wiped out by a disaster, 750,000 seed samples sit safely at Svalbard, high enough above sea level to avoid getting washed away in the event of all the ice caps melting. Norway footed the more than $8 million it took to construct, but the trust is kept alive thanks to people like Bill and Melinda Gates. It's built 390 feet into a sandstone mountain and has enough permafrost to keep things preserved in the event of the coal power getting shut down.
The outside of an Ultimate Bunker. (Ultimate Bunker)
Ultimate Bunker, in Mormon-filled Utah, offers a few more options than most bunker dealers. They assure you that you can have a full-blown steel-enforced bunker or even a bulletproof home. Meanwhile, Texas's Rising S Bunkers has a variety of bunkers up for grabs, with prearranged floor plans and colorful slides of all the décor options your heart desires. Unlike Ultimate Bunker, however, Rising S is happy to offer both "standard" and luxury options. With lighting, bathroom and kitchen amenities, bunk beds, power systems, entertainment, and the ever-important air filtration, they claim that all you'll need are your personal items and foodstuffs to have your ideal home-under-home.
Beijing’s underground city. (Serasphere)
Most doomsday bunkers largely follow a pattern: People anticipate disaster, so they take steps to be ready for it. In Beijing, however, there's no need to relocate to a safe lair; many of its citizens are already bunked up for safety. Around 10,000 underground units were built by Chairman Mao in the '60s and '70s, but in the '80s, they were opened up to the free market. Over a million people now live below the streets of Beijing without proper air ventilation, though electricity, plumbing, and sewage still work. Ranging from $10–40 a month, these bunkers are the most affordable of the lot, though the musty, deplorable living conditions make them hardly most people's first choice. Guards keep people from wandering in, and residents are understandably wary of visitors.