In a post I published last week on the topic of tornado-proof homes, many of you chimed and described the “safe place” — prefab shelters, bathtubs, basement bunkers, interior rooms, etc. — in your home that you head to when storm sirens start blaring. But where do you head when you want to remain protected not only from Mother Nature’s wrath but from homicidal home invaders, marauding mother-in-laws, noisy neighbors, aggressive Avon ladies, and, of course, the imminent zombie apocalypse?


Well, the impenetrable — yet stylish and sustainable — fortress of your most paranoid fever dreams does exist … and it’s located on the bucolic outskirts of Warsaw, Poland.


The KWK Promes-designed home, dubbed Safe House, made somewhat of a splash around the architecture blogs last summer only to reemerge in recent weeks due to a string of events — the killing of Osama Bin Laden in a Pakistani compound, the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power plant, devastating tornado outbreaks across the American South and Midwest, and, last but not least, Harold Camping’s no-show of a Rapture — that have left many homeowners thinking seriously about residential safety and security. Or, as Kelsey Keith writes for the Architizer blog, “…people are looking for a little comfort in their architecture. We don’t mean the crocheted and wood-hewn kind, either — we mean a modern concrete bunker that can be sealed up tight at a moment’s notice.”


With its drawbridge and various mechanically operated moving parts, this 6,100-square foot concrete cuboid compound in the country was designed by for clients whose “top priority was to gain the feeling of maximum security in their future house.” Either that or they wanted to live in what’s essentially an aboveground Batcave with a swimming pool. Because really, who wouldn't want to swim a few laps while crazed locals descend on your property?
What’s more, this monolithic fortress/home boasts a few green attributes:
Once the house opens, it’s bright and spacious interior merges extensively with the garden.
Wide glazings behind the movable walls let the building acquire energy during the day (winter) or prevent the sun’s heat from going into the house (summer). At night, when the house is closed, the thick outer layer helps the building to accumulate the gained energy. Such a solution together with the hybrid heat system (most of the energy is gained from renewable sources – heat pump and solar systems supported with gas heating) and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery makes the house become an intelligent passive building.
Every day the house acts in a similar way – it wakes up every morning to close up after the dusk. This routine reminds of the processes occurring in nature – the house resembles a plant in its day and night cycle.
Read more about Safe House’s fascinating features here or at the KWK Promes homepage. While I don't mind the stark, ultra-modern looks of Safe House in its “open” state, I'd be weary to live in a home that seals itself up like that. When it comes down to it, I'd ultimately be more paranoid about trapping myself inside — what if there's some kind of system malfunction or the home itself turns on you!? — than keeping unwanted visitors at a safe remove. What do you think? Does a "maximum security" home in the country appeal to you at all? Or would you just rather place a baseball bat under the bed, install a basic alarm system, and call it a day? 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Safe House: For when security cameras just don't cut it
Ideal for those who want to ride out the zombie apocalypse in sustainable style, KWK Promes' Safe House outside of Warsaw, Poland, features a drawbridge, moving