Incredible fortress homes
April 18, 2012
|This Transformer-like home in Warsaw, Poland can turn from concrete fortress to glass house.|
Photos: KWK Promes
The entryway, the gates and the interior spaces—even the bedrooms—require a keycard to gain access. High-resolution security cameras keep watch throughout the entire building. And in case of emergency, there’s an industrial-grade home generator and elaborate fire suppression system—all of which can be operated by smartphone.
Not all fortress homes rely on fancy camera systems and state-of-the-art technology. Chateau Artisan, for example, uses the time-tested security feature of a water moat to keep would-be intruders out. Architect Charles Sieger, who designed and lives in the expansive home—maintained with the help of live-in staff—the home was a test of his own creativity.
“It was specifically modeled as an experiment on my part,” says Sieger. “And I did that just to see if I could do it.” Heavy metal gates guard the single driveway in or out of the house on its man-made island, which sits in the center of a 14-acre property surrounded by thick hedgerows. There are also regular and infrared cameras on the main road, and cameras on all of the doors—perhaps a concession to the modern security needs of a 21st century mansion. “I was going to have the bridge be a drawbridge,” says Sieger, “but it cost too much to build.”
Read on for more fortress homes ready for any invasion:
The Creech House
Location: Whitefish, Montana
Price: $16 million
|The home is a ski lodge and high-tech fortress all in one.|
Photo: Sotheby's International Realty
“It’s a nice little feature to see your what your kids are doing,” says owner Kay Creech. And with 16 rooms, seven bedrooms (with the ability to sleep 34 if necessary), 10 bathrooms, and four decks that open up to views of Glacier National Park, any tool to help you keep track of the kids is essential. The home is currently on the market for $16 million.
Transforming Concrete Fortress
Location: Warsaw, Poland
|The Warsaw home with its concrete wall retracted.|
Photo: KWK Promes
You’ve heard of a panic room? This is a panic home with a panoramic view and lockdown mode. Once the 50-foot retractable concrete wall shutters are closed, the drawbridge (yes, a drawbridge), and the 20-foot metal roll-down gate closes off the glass anterior of the home, this concrete cube can ride out almost any scenario you throw at it. As far as owners who value their security above all else, this home is the gold standard of privacy and protection.
The Fortress Home
Location: Los Angeles, California
Price: $11.9 million
|Getting from room to room in this L.A. house will require a security card.|
smartphone. City regulations have since banned the construction of such homes, so the property, currently on the market for $11.9 million is truly a rare find.
Location: Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
|The "Teletubby House" is built into the ground by the bay.|
Most of the home is located underground, featuring an earthen roof that perfectly emulates the hills around it, with the glass front facing the bay (the only hint that there’s a home hidden somewhere below). Like a Hobbit hole of contemporary experimental architecture, the Malator was designed and built in 1998 by avant-garde architectural firm Future Systems, now known as Amanda Levete Architects after a company split in 2008.
Location: Homestead, Florida
Price: $10.9 million
|Anyone wanting to invade this Florida home will have to get past the moat.|
Photo: Charles Sieger
He dug out a giant circular moat (a time-tested invasion deterrent) to surround the $10.9 million home, built one road leading in and out of the home, put up a heavy metal gate, and installed regular and infrared cameras along the road and around the house. “In particular, I bought the property because it was on the side of a canal, which also provides protection” says Sieger.
Click here to see more photos of incredible fortress homes.