Things are heating up in Europe. While people in the UK rush out to buy iodine tablets to band aid over the nuclear apocalypse, preppers the world over are making sure they have enough tins of beans to last 100 years of nuclear winter.
Various projects around the world are taking advantage of the prepper market by creating vast underground community networks. We took a look at a collection of the projects currently underway.
Doomsday preppers are seen as somewhat of an oddity in peacetimes, but when some madman is sabre rattling nukes, their preparations don’t seem quite so silly.
No one takes it more seriously than the Vivos Group who are building survival bunkers all over the world. They market themselves to people who may believe in any one of many different doomsday scenarios.
“If you believe in the Biblical predictions of Armageddon,” they state on their website, “or the prophecies of Nostradamus, the Third Secret of Fatima, the visions of Edgar Cayce, or all of the current signs of attack by North Korea, WW3, a pandemic, an EMP power outage, Yellowstone’s eruption, the increase threats of an asteroid collision, Nibiru/Planet X, widespread global radiation, major earth changes, or even a sudden pole shift, then it is time to prepare for your family’s survival!”
Vivos invites people to become members and in the registration form, asks if you have any relevant skills that would ensure long-term survival of the species. “Writer” isn’t on the list so I guess I’m deadweight both pre- and post-apocalypse. Skills they do find relevant include dentists, farmers and martial artists. Because being able to karate chop a radiated zombie’s head off will always be a valuable life skill.
Vivos xPoint is a project developed out of 575 former U.S Army Base all-risk bunkers in the Black Hills area of South Dakota. The base formerly served as a bombs and munitions dump until it was retired in 1967 and handed over to cattle ranchers. Vivos bought the land off the ranchers and are now selling each bunker for US$45,000 each. It is centrally placed in the USA away from coastlines, and is 160km away from the “nearest known military targets”. The total area of the base is 46 square kilometres of row upon row of bunker, each 400 feet away from its neighbour, meaning no need to worry about hearing any rowdy music through your solid concrete and steel blast doors. I suppose the spacing was to ensure that a munitions dump explosion wouldn’t set off a chain reaction.
All bunkers feature a standard 26.5 foot interior floor width, with lengths of 60 feet and 80 feet, each with a 12.5 foot high ceiling to the top of the interior arch. While the pricing is cheap, you’ll be dropping a ton of money into outfitting your concrete shell to be habitable. But the results can be spectacularly cushy, given the right amount of money. There’s also an annual rent of $1,000. But don’t worry, I’m sure that once a nuclear blast rips across the land you can start trading in bottle caps instead.
Premium options will set you back US$120,000 to get a bunker looking like one of Vivos showbunkers. Floorplans accomodate 4 to 20 people with options including a greatroom, kitchen, private bedrooms, a master suite, full and half bathrooms, a gym, laundry, water filtration and pump room, power room and generator, air filtration area, a mud room (whatever that’s supposed to be), and an exhaust chimney.
For lone wolves or small families, there are 16 person shared bunkers, which would be absolute hell, I’m sure. I can already see people going feral at each other a year in after the passive aggressive flatmate notes about “stop nicking my bread!” get too numerous. Priced at US$15,000 per person, the bunkers come stocked with one year of food and supplies and all the amenities of life. Rent is split 16 ways, so is rather negligible, covering ground rent and monthly common area fees.
Vivos assures us that, “You can visit and stay in your bunker as often as you like, even live in it fulltime as your primary residence or a home away from home.”
As someone who’s watching their friends getting locked out of the Auckland housing market, this sounds like the cheapest form of accommodation right now.
Vivos’ second site in the States is Vivos Indiana, an underground complex big enough to accommodate 80 people. As is the case for most of these networks, it was built during the Cold War to withstand a 20 megaton blast; good enough to withstand most, but not all of Russia’s cache of nukes. They have designs for 100-megaton nukes.
Vivos Indiana can run for a year, minimum, completely cut off from the outside world. Tagged at a four star hotel level, this is the most homely shelter we’ve seen so far. Outfitted with natural wood and plush armchairs there’s everything 80 people would need to keep themselves entertained for the endtimes. A theatre area, dining, exercise equipment, kennels, gardens and even ATV’s, bicycles and a workshop. Apparently there are currently free spaces that can be booked. Current members of the bunker apparently include surgeons, doctors, ex-military, chefs and unfortunately bankers as well.
It seems that preppers have the Soviets to thank for all aspects of our current impending doom. The Oppidum used to be a secret base built by the Czechoslovakian government and the Soviet Union near Prague. In 1995, it was a simple nuclear shelter, but has since been refurbished to be the largest underground retreat for a single buyer. The surface is a ritzy opulent living space occupying 30,000 square metres of property, comfortable enough for peacetime. Underground is a sprawling 7,200 square metre underground space.
Oppidum is also the name of the company outfitting the shelter, and offer their services around the world. Their sales pitch is less aimed at doomsday preppers looking for clues in Revelations, and more at the uber wealthy. They state that in addition to providing ultimate safety, bunkers “add value to your property in terms of safe storage for art, collectable cars, and other valuables. They also provide amenities like a gentleman’s lounge in which total privacy can be assured.”
Quickly lads, the air raid sirens are going off, get the brandy! Did Giles make sure the gentleman’s lounge is well stocked with escorts? Perfect, don’t tell my wife or her mistress.
The bunker has been split into one large apartment and six smaller ones for the extended friends and whānau to join you. It’s stocked with up to ten years of supplies and includes an underground garden, swimming pool, cinema, wine cellar and library.
Vivos Europa One
It doesn’t get much better than Europa One, Vivos’ 5 star premium luxury accommodation for those that want to ride out the end of the world in style. This 76 acre property is located in Germany, and used to serve as a Soviet munitions dump. After they left it, the German government used it for the same purpose until pesky bylaws prohibited massive ammo dumps from being stored next to highways. They flipped it off and it landed in the care of Vivos, which is now flipping off levels at $2 mil a pop for buyers to outfit to their personal specifications.
Collectively, it’s comprised of five kilometres of continuous tunnel and 227,904 square feet of secured, blast proof living areas sitting at a stable 12 degrees. It’s rated to withstand everything up to a close nuclear blast. That’s the beauty of being deeply embedded in a limestone mountain. It also has everything you need for long term survival. A water treatment plant, deep water wells, a power plant, air filtration, hospital area and even the possibility of restaurant areas.
The exterior has a full on barracks and train depot. Once the perimeter wall is closed, it’s only accessible by helicopter. Safe from both nuclear blasts and people! What more could you ask for?
Vivos has big plans for this place including a seed bank and DNA storage. Buyers have a 2,500 square foot floor area to work with, and with such a tall ceiling is the potential to double it with a second floor adding an additional 2,500 square feet. But really what they’re buying their way into is a tiny ark of civilisation.
DBX Doomsday Bunker
Maybe the most qualified architects to design a shelter for long term living would be well versed in the art of building for space habitation. That’s exactly what Spanish architectural firm ABIBOO, led by Spanish architect and designer Alfredo Munoz, has qualifications for. He’s one of just a few designers who are recognised as Space Architects by the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), of which he’s a member.
The underground bunker he designed in South Carolina occupies 12,000 square feet and can accommodate up to two family groups and a maximum of ten people. It’s both a survival shelter and a completely self sufficient second home. It’s comprised of modular vaults surrounding a hydroponic garden and has just a beautiful design. Nobody knows who the client was who commissioned it, but ABIBOO does share that they are a “self-confessed ‘prepper’ that wants to be ready for a potential calamity.”
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Unlike the others, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is not intended for human survival. Instead, as the name suggests, it is for the survival of plant life. Located on a remote island on the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, lies this giant fridge, the only marker of its existence being a glitzy concrete shard poking out of the snowy tundra. There are 1,700 genebanks spread around the world with libraries of seeds. They are unfortunately vulnerable to any number of factors. An intern unplugging a fridge and forgetting about it could cause a mass extinction of whatever is stored in the fridge. More dramatic circumstances such as war or defunding could also lead to the complete collapse of the genebank. The Global Seed Vault was built to counter these weaknesses, by being paced in permafrost, so power failure is never an issue, and it’s in the middle of nowhere, thus not a target of roaming tanks and rocket shooters. The vault is 100 metres underground, but also well above sea level, so ocean rises won’t be an issue.
The Seed Vault has the capacity to store 4.5 million varieties of crops. Each variety will contain on average 500 seeds, so a maximum of 2.5 billion seeds may be stored in the vault. Currently it has been given over 1,000,000 samples from every corner of the globe. Everything is kept at a frosty -18ºC and there are no permanent staff at the vault. So while it’s not ideal for our survival, it will ensure the survival of millions of different plant species.
The Survival Condo is a good name for it. The Survival Condo is built into a decommissioned Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Silo back in the 60s. To be more specific, it used to be a Atlas “F” missile silo. There’s one finished facility already with the crew working on a second now, according to them only a few spaces are left to be booked in this second silo.
The original facility was 15 floors deep, but now each floor is getting divided out to willing buyers. You can choose between everything from a half floor of 920 sq. ft of space for US$1.5 million, all the way up to a 3600 sq. ft. penthouse for $4.5 million. How do penthouses work in the bunker community? Is it inverted? Do you get to brag about being closer to the earth’s core than anybody else? “Loving the view of the 3 foot thick concrete walls dude, very nice!”
Outfitting can be made to your personal tastes. One glowing reviewer says of his purchase, “The same quality of condo in New York would have cost me the same, if not more per square foot and you get peace of mind with this.”
Amenities include a community swimming pool, dog walking park, rock climbing wall, theatre, general store and an aquaponic farm, among other features.
Survival Condo’s marketing is a bit more blunt than Vivos stating, “We are not looking for stereotypical “survival nuts” portrayed in movies, but rather like-minded individuals with the desire to provide care and protection for their family. We seek people with the financial resources, interest, education, experience, and desire to participate in the shared tasks of survival under difficult circumstances. We want people with good values and we will screen applicants for criminal backgrounds.”
So sorry if you ever got a speeding ticket, you can fend for yourself in the Forever Winter.