Billionaire Bunker Trend Spreads to Condo Design

Architects are integrating state-of-the-art security into luxury condo design, as real estate investors expect an advanced level of protection.

Photos by: One Thousand Museum "Technology has advanced to the point that, short of the earth tipping on its axis, there is nothing that cannot be protected against. From global nuclear holocaust or pandemics, to infrastructure and financial collapse - even another ice age - you can be protected and survive," said Al V. Corbi, security expert and founder of SAFE (Strategically Armored and Fortified Environments).

Panoramic water views and luxury amenities aren't going to cut it for some Miami condo buyers. Typically from foreign countries, these real estate investors expect a level of security akin to the embassy. It's called the billionaire bunker trend and it's now sweeping through condo design. 

Developers of One Thousand Museum are fully integrating security into its design, using state-of-the-art technology both within and outside the structure. Beyond the typical security cameras, gated entry and check-in systems, world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid hired a company to construct an advanced security plan for the building, including a rooftop helipad for private helicopters and emergency rescue. Some penthouses will contain secret passageways with safe rooms.

Homeowners are paying more for features like panic rooms, secret passages and pepper spray sprinklers. Some homes even have integrated smoke systems that can release gases that disable intruders for up to 24 hours. Security expert Al V. Corbi, founder of SAFE (Strategically Armored and Fortified Environments), designed a similar in-home smoke system for his Los Angeles estate.

We asked Corbi to share with us why these modern-day security measures are important now, more than ever. "Every disaster over the past 10 years, both natural and manmade, have shown that when they strike, you and your family will be on your own. There won’t be anyone there to help, let alone protect you," he said. "From Katrina to the more than 2 million burglaries in 2013, the myth of government as a protectorate has never been more absurd."

According to Corbi, typically when tragedy strikes, the damage is done in the first 15 minutes and in the best case scenario, the authorities response time is 30 minutes. Many have decided that the only practical solution is self-reliance and preparation. 

While wealthy homeowners have always known the need for advanced security measures, said Corbi, the general public's awareness of the situation has shifted over the past decade. And now more and more people are taking responsibility for their own protection. "Security is no longer the exclusive domain of the very rich. Security is scalable. Anyone can be protected according to their means and needs," he said. 

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