Saturday, July 21

Real life as safe as houses

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With a fortified bunker, secret entrances, man traps, food and water storage, this home is ready for an apocalypse

Built to last 1000 years and to withstand every type of attack, the eight-bedroom, 15-bathroom house cost $30m to build and was reduced from its original list price of $17.5m.

Because the buyer of this fortified property did not want too many details about the house made public, listing agent Paul Wegener of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, has declined to divulge the exact location and name of its owner.

Now in his eighties, the seller had the idea for this home since his childhood and planned to leave it to his son.

However, the son does not want to live there so the owner has put it on the market before all the final touches are in place.

“The decision was made not to do all the interior finishes but to leave that canvas for the next owner,” Wegener said.

“The mandate was the best of the best and nothing short of it. If you build something you do it right or you do not do it. Period.”

Maryland-based security expert Al Corbi, who has designed classified facilities for the US government, came up with the safety design for the property.

WHAT MAKES IT SO SAFE?

The walls

Built to withstand machine gunfire, they’re made of wood-frame construction reinforced with rebar and concrete with a strength much higher than that used in typical home construction. Braided copper wires wrap around the wood framing to make the building safe from lightning strikes.

No design detail was left to chance. Even the columns are adorned with classical Greek motifs. Greece’s Acropolis was the inspiration for the design of the home. Picture: Paul Wegener, Atlanta Fine Homes 
Sotheby’s International Realty

The bunker

The home’s 1394m² concrete-fortified bunker is situated deep within the main building with multiple concealed entrances.

“The concealment is not a bookcase with a trick opening,” said Wegener.

“The entrances are concealed in a manner you wouldn’t find.”

Doors

Interior and exterior doors throughout the house have three layers of Kevlar so they can withstand ballistic attacks.

A system of chromalloy pins that extend from the door’s edge into the frame provide more than one locking mechanism for each entry.

Man traps

Should intruders make their way to the inner chambers of the house, they would be vulnerable to a defence system called Man Traps, Wegener said.

These discreetly placed nozzles release noxious gases that could incapacitate the person, or harmless gases to obscure visibility in the room the intruders can’t escape.

An observation tower

This has a remote window control that oversees the property. It comes with a glass floor and secret spiral staircase entry so residents can see intruders approaching and make a quick getaway.

The decorative windows combine ultra-high security with aesthetic appeal. Picture: Paul Wegener, Atlanta Fine Homes 
Sotheby’s International Realty

Off the grid

The home has all the requirements for living off the grid – including water, electricity, heating and a pantry big enough to hold a three-year supply of food.

Three artesian wells at a depth of more 305m – at least one of which is connected to an aquifer – provide access to fresh water, Wegener said.

A 6435 litre tank acts as a long-term place to store water.

If the main electric grid fails, power can come from solar panels or two underground whole-house generators. The generators are stored in Kevlar-fortified bunkers.

To accommodate the smoke that would rise from the generators, decorative chimneys were built above ground, near the outdoor fireplace, to direct smoke from the house.

Geothermal heating provides climate control via 27 heat pumps throughout the property.

“This home operates at a tenth of the cost of a home traditionally this size,” said Wegener.

“Traditionally, a home that measures 3345m² would not operate efficiently, but this one does.”

Bat Cave

The 30-car garage, referred to as the Bat Cave, is nearly complete. The only piece of the design that still needs to be added is the waterfall that conceals the entrance.

Other features

A few of the features that aren’t fully finished include space for a 70m² home theatre, a wine cellar, two lift shafts and a bridge on to the driveway on which pop spikes can shoot out to prevent vehicles from entering or exiting the property.

The home also caters for luxury living with a front entrance modelled after Venice’s Rialto Bridge; three kitchens; a fireplace in the master bedroom; staff quarters; vaulted ceilings; and enough entertaining space to host a gathering for 600 people. – The Washington Post

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