Billionaire Bunkers: How The Rich Prepare For Doomsday


It’s no longer enough for a billionaire to build a Craftsman style mansion with an ocean vista, or a Beaux Arts “cottage” with a wraparound view of the French countryside, not even if the mansion has a teak dock for a 20-foot yacht, and the cottage has a landscape design that would make Frederick Law Olmstead green with envy. Today, the world’s deep-pocketed pay top dollar for a far more exclusive amenity: hi-tech security.

The billionaire bunker is becoming increasingly more commonplace. In an age of anxiety, where threats of terrorism, natural disaster, and Orwellian government surveillance dominate the media, where Russia, in lieu of recent political events in Crimea, issues a nonchalant warning like – “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash” -it’s logical that the super-rich would want to build luxurious strongholds against whatever doomsday scenario is on the horizon.

According to Chris Pollack, president of Pollack+Partners, a design and construction firm in Purchase, New York, the spending for home defense has increased markedly over the last five years. Ultra-net-worth clients are arming their homes with all sorts of futuristic technology securities. Many of these hi-tech safeguards were created for the military or NASA, but sound as though they were developed by James Bond’s Q, or came straight out of one of William Gibson’s speculative fiction novels.

What types of technologies are being utilized in these palatial, bunker estates? Traditional lock and key entries are being replaced by Biometric recognition software. Security alarms are being fortified with fog screen systems that billow either harmless smoke meant to disorient potential intruders, or noisome gas that has temporary disabling effects. Natural disasters are no longer a serious concern, as some billionaire bunkers have steel–reinforced concrete caissons that burrow 30-feet into private hillsides. From strategically armed and fortified environments to exclusive high-security communities, here are 8 ways the elite prepare for Doomsday.

8. Secret Passageways

If Biometric recognition systems sound like something out of a science fiction novel, then hidden passageways and secret portals are more in line with an Agatha Christie mystery. Creative Home Engineering, which was started by an ex-Boeing engineer, specializes in clandestine tunnels. While some of the secret passageways are designed solely as fun amenities for the home, the company builds around 50 portals a year for security reasons. From entrances hidden in bookshelves to elevator staircases and false-walls leading into panic rooms, the billionaire’s home security system is not only about futuristic gadgets but also deception and subterfuge. In 2012, Creative Home Engineering built multiple secret passageways in the royal palace of a Middle Eastern king.