Insane ‘Billionaire Bunkers’ Where the Ultra-rich Will Wait Out the Pandemic

Posted in How the One Percent Live

For us, it’s the end of days. For them, an excuse for a remote destination holiday — armoured convoy included. We are, of course, referring to ‘billionaire bunkers’: those inscrutable edifices built by the one percent in order to wait out war, natural disasters, or, in 2020, a certain global respiratory infection.

Over the last decade, the ultra-rich have become increasingly paranoid about the advent of such cataclysms; and with a limitless supply of capital and ever-dwindling array of meaningful investment options, there’s more interest around a state-of-the-art luxury bunker than you’d initially think.

Here are three of the most insane examples: far from the dank, slightly bleak vibe of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers or the fallout shelters from cinema and video games; these allegedly indestructible structures all come equipped with pools, private cinemas and much much more.

billionaire bunkers
California-based Terra Vivos have constructed a number of bunkers available for co-share, including this one in South Dakota (roughly the same size of Manhattan).

Europa One

billionaire bunkers

Marketed as a “modern day Noah’s Ark”, the Europa One compound is California-based Vivos Group’s answer to the quintessential continental holiday home — notwithstanding a few, shall we say, upgrades. For starters, the whole structure is carved out of solid bedrock; beneath a 400-foot mountain in the free state of Thuringia (Germany). At the time Vivos originally earmarked it for modernisation, it had been a Soviet military cache — used to store Red Army munitions during the Cold War. When buyers acquire one of the Europa One bunkers (private apartments from €2 million, approx. HK$16,782,900), the typical ‘starter kit’ involves a 2,500 sq.ft. residence spread across two floors; and access to a variety of communal facilities such as a chapel and pub. Factored in to the cost of purchasing one of these modest, subterranean fiefdoms is a full-time coterie of staff and security personnel.

The Oppidum

billionaire bunkers

Whereas a majority of the existing billionaire bunkers around the globe enable multiple wealthy families to clump together (strength in numbers everyone!), The Oppidum is a strictly ‘sole owner’ proposition. And when it comes to apocalypse-proofing, it boasts some pretty mean credentials. Originally developed as a joint military installation between Czechoslovakia and the former Soviet Union, construction began in 1984. This massive, fortress-esque compound was built (in theory) to withstand manmade disasters and nuclear attack — it was the 80s, after all — but underwent extensive beautification in 2013. The price is only disclosed to serious buyers, but the lucky owner can expect what’s allegedly the ‘largest billionaire bunker in the world’ (77,000 sq ft) to be accompanied by a subterranean garden (with artificial lighting to mimic natural sunlight), lap pool, spa facilities and wine cellar. Clearly, the remodellers had their priorities in order.

The Survival Condo Project

billionaire bunkers

Given the highly specific proclivities of the ultra-rich, there’s even an underground bunker that could make Ernst Stavro Blofeld jealous. Said to be “at an undisclosed location in Wichita, Kansas,” the Survival Condo is a 15-storey facility that is built into a decommissioned Atlas missile silo. (For all you military nuts out there, that’s the first ever intercontinental projectile developed for the US Air Force). Survival Condo CEO Larry Hall describes it as “true relaxation for the ultra-wealthy,” replete with all the classic bells and whistles you’d expect, from pool and spa to Kohler bath and kitchen amenities in each unit. The project is designed to sustain 75 people comfortably for more than five years, and prices start from US$1.5 million for half-floor units at 920 sq.ft.

In a slightly unnerving twist — the mechanics of which seem tenuous at best — under a ‘crisis scenario’, the Survival Condo’s board of directors may restrict a resident’s ability to leave the bunker without first securing permission. Remain indoors — it’s for your own safety.

Randy Lai

Airbnb Launches US$1 Million Fund to Build World’s Most Unconventional Home

Posted in Holiday Homes

As the world’s largest marketplace for homes, Airbnb has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetise their spaces. But aside from just building this guest community, the group has other home ideas up their sleeve. Right now, they are on the hunt for the world’s wildest home ideas by dreaming these unusual living spaces into a reality with a US$1 million fund. 

From now until April 16, design enthusiasts can submit their proposals for a chance to turn blueprints into their very own live property. Each submission will be scored against criteria based on creativity, feasibility, sustainability and social good. The purpose of this competition is to enable anyone with an extraordinary idea to design it, build it and ultimately share it with travelers from all across the globe. 

Ten winners of the Unique Airbnb Fund will be selected by an expert panel of judges including Emmy, Tony and Grammy award-winning actor Billy Porter, Airbnb superhost Kristie Wolfe of Big Idaho Potato Hotel and global architecture firm MVRDV. The winners of the award and grant will be announced by Airbnb on May 15.

For some quirky and whimsical inspiration, here are some unconventional Airbnb homes on the market. 

To enter the Unique Airbnb Fund competition, apply here

Dara Chau