Modern construction often takes inspiration from pop culture. It is constantly being influenced by modern surrounds and the wants and needs of the populous. Examples of this are of course apparent in green building, a style of sustainable building that is not only important on an environmental, but speaks volumes about our modern societal values.
Taking pop culture and modern ideals to a whole new level is Poland’s “Safe House”. Designed by Polish architectural firm KWK Pomes, the private residence is a testament to in-home safety. However, the building is reflective of and being promoted as a post apocalyptic retreat as seen in pop culture zombie movies. The design team worked on a brief designed around security citing “The most essential item for our clients was acquiring the feeling of maximum security”.
The safety element is entrenched into every section of the buildings exterior. The façade is constructed of floor to ceiling moveable cement walls. In its closed form the building resembles a large cement cube. Surrounding fences are also made of cement that offers two solid sliding gates as the properties front exit.
The double story building has duel fifteen metre bottom level sliding panels that open to the connect with the front fence creating a front courtyard when the house is open. At the rear of the residence a six-metre metal rolling door forms the back façade. When opened, beneath the 6, 100 square foot building is open to floor to ceiling glass that offers intensive sunlight and a direct contrast to the cubic front. Covering windows on upper levels are 3.5 metre mobile walls that slide to open.
The site is in itself a juxtaposition of open plan open-air design and claustrophobic modernism. It is described by KWK Pomes as such.
“While the initial read of the design might seem confining, the house, when in its open sate, offers immense transparency while establishing a strong relationship to the site.” Designers said.
The building has received mixed reviews from members of the public and media. While some are naming designers “geniuses” and the building “innovators”, others are criticizing them as being paranoid in light of the recent pop culture zombie apocalypse mood.
This is however not the first time architecture has been influenced by pop culture and surely will not be the last. The New York Times article “When the Space Age Blasted Off, Pop Culture Followed” demonstrates the power of pop culture on design. The space race saw societal ideas that revolved around futuristic design, or the “’ice-white cube’ which became the standard kind of ascetic interior” of the time. This was transferred into modern architecture. During this time space age design was a relevant and popular mode of architecture.
Societal moods will always seep into design and architecture. It shows innovation and reflects the zeitgeist of an era. The “Safe House” may be argued to be a reflection of paranoia or alienation but it is still a feat in modern architecture and design that is sure to be re-created.
Image: as sourced from Design You Trust