[dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]hina’s slowdown is causing stock markets across the globe to plunge. Social unrest from street demonstrations to bombings have besieged our region. Singapore is still thankfully safe but should apocalypse find a way to reach us, you’d wish you were better prepared. And, no, the civil-defence shelter won’t cut it when an axe-wielding mob shows up at your door.

What you need is a safe room or what’s more popularly known as the panic room, thanks to the 2002 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

An award-winning architect, who specialises in residential design but chooses to remain anonymous because of client confidentiality, has built two such facilities for clients. He says that he’s seen more interest in recent years, especially among the well-heeled living in landed properties – and these are not even necessarily prominent people.

04 The Brief - Panic Room.indd

When designing a shelter, he first considers the number of people it needs to accommodate and how long they wish to be hidden away. Access doors have to be concealed and the walls reinforced against breakins and explosives. Then, he plans the systems for ventilation, air-conditioning and communication – alarms, phone line to the police and TV receivers – as well as accessibility for the old and infirm, food and drink rations and even the quality of the furnishings.

“The most costly items would be the reinforcement of the walls and door and a sophisticated ventilation and air-conditioning system that is virtually undetectable from the outside,” he shares. While having a secret hideout is a common childhood dream, he dispels any notion that people do this for fun:. He adds: “Such installations are, frankly, not cheap.”

(header image credit: Artisanat Art)