Home Defender - - Home Defender - BY: CHRISTO­PHER CASTRO | PHOTOS: KWK PROMES

We take a look at a mod­ern mar­vel that

was cre­ated by man but in­spired by na­ture.

Fas­ci­na­tion with home se­cu­rity typ­i­cally be­gins with a home alarm, firearm or a safe. From there it grad­u­ates to dreams of own­ing an even big­ger safe, with even more weapons. But as our minds – and bud­gets – ex­pand, we be­gin day­dream­ing about things like panic rooms and se­cret pas­sage­ways. But what if your fi­nan­cial means were of lit­tle con­cern, and the only thing lim­it­ing your op­tions was cre­ativ­ity? Well in that case, you could lit­er­ally think out of the box. The thought can stir up a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties, won­der and ex­cite­ment, but the thought of be­ing con­fined in one room, well … maybe not so much. That opin­ion can change quickly, how­ever, when it

comes to mat­ters of home de­fense.

A safe house out­side of War­saw, Poland, proves that it can be done – com­fort­ably.

When a client ap­proached Robert Konieczny of KWK Promes, he had one re­quest. That re­quest was to de­sign a home that of­fered max­i­mum se­cu­rity.

With that in mind, Konieczny be­gan sketch­ing one con­cept after another, and that’s when na­ture took its course – lit­er­ally. He drew his in­spi­ra­tion from the highly evolved plants that re­spond to the earth’s cir­ca­dian rhythm, a process called nycti­nasty. He thought about tulips, pop­pies and hi­bis­cus, for ex­am­ple, which open up dur­ing the day and

“After spend­ing one year de­sign­ing the home, it took a to­tal of four years to com­plete the ‘Safe House’”

close up at night. This, in turn, be­came the foun­da­tion for what is now re­ferred to as the ul­ti­mate safe house.

Konieczny de­signed a home that could open and close, and the home was de­signed to pro­tect its oc­cu­pants in two dis­tinct safety zones – one pro­tect­ing the outer perime­ter and another adding an ad­di­tional layer of pro­tec­tion by seal­ing the house shut.

From the begin­ning, the house took the form of a cuboid in which parts of the ex­te­rior walls are mov­able. Con­se­quently, when the house is closed at night, the safe zone is lim­ited to the house’s out­line; in the day­time, the safety zone ex­tends into the gar­den sur­round­ing the house. Those same ex­te­rior walls are not de­pen­dent on the form of the build­ing, and “that is why this patent can be ap­plied to both mod­ern and tra­di­tional, sin­gle and mul­ti­sto­ried with dif­fer­ent ge­om­e­try,” ac­cord­ing to KWK Promes.


One of the many fea­tures of Konieczny’s safe house is his use of a 7.2-foot-high outer wall with a length of 72 feet by 49 feet. It’s not the size fac­tor we’re try­ing to high­light with the walls, but more so the func­tion­al­ity that the walls are de­signed for. These mo­tor­ized walls cre­ate a “safe zone” court­yard or in ex­treme cases a “quar­an­tine” that’s very well ca­pa­ble of sep­a­rat­ing an in­truder or un­wanted in-laws from get­ting into the main

liv­ing quar­ters. It can even serve as a safe zone for your kids to play in with­out the added risk of run­ning into the street.


Ei­ther on a sched­ule or at the touch of a button, the house opens up its bright and spa­cious in­te­rior to merge with the ex­pan­sive gar­den. The use of wide glaz­ings be­hind the mov­able walls let the build­ing ac­quire en­ergy dur­ing the day (win­ter) or pre­vent the sun's heat from go­ing into the house (sum­mer).

“A mo­tor­ized draw­bridge con­nects the home­owner to a roof top ter­race and sep­a­rate swim­ming pool”

At night, when the house is closed, the thick outer layer helps the build­ing to ac­cu­mu­late the gained en­ergy. Such a so­lu­tion to­gether with the hy­brid heat sys­tem (most of the en­ergy is gained from re­new­able sources – heat pump and so­lar sys­tems sup­ported with gas heat­ing) and me­chan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tion with heat re­cov­ery makes the house be­come an in­tel­li­gent pas­sive build­ing.

If set on au­to­matic, the house will act in a sim­i­lar fash­ion ev­ery day – it wakes up ev­ery morn­ing and seals up after dusk. This rou­tine re­minds us of the pro­cesses oc­cur­ring in na­ture, and the house re­sem­bles a plant in its day and night cy­cle.

With the ground level squared away

(no pun in­tended), crit­ics may say that the home is vul­ner­a­ble be­cause of the huge win­dows, but at the touch of a button flush-fit­ting shut­ters mea­sur­ing at 9.2 feet high and up to 11.5 feet wide can be sealed away. These same shut­ters are ca­pa­ble of open­ing and clos­ing up to 180 de­grees, al­low­ing the shut­ters to lie flat against the house’s walls.

The south wing of the house is equally pro­tected with an enor­mous cor­ru­gated roll-up door that mea­sures in at 46 feet by 20 feet. The in­dus­trial roll-up door is sim­i­lar to those used at air­craft hangars and ship­yards. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also got a sep­a­rate swim­ming pool and roof ter­race that is ac­ces­si­ble through the home’s very own mo­tor­ized draw­bridge.


The whole build­ing is a con­crete mono­lith, while its mo­bile parts – for the sake of con­sid­er­able size – are light steel trusses filled with min­eral wool. As a re­sult, the build­ing is per­fectly in­su­lated when closed.

The whole house as well as the mo­bile el­e­ments are clad with ce­ment-bonded par­ti­cle­boards – Cetris and wa­ter­proof alder ply­wood fixed to a steel con­struc­tion and painted with dark wood stain, which re­sem­bles the

wood widely found on the sur­round­ing houses and barns. It makes it fit well into the ru­ral land­scape.

Be­ing a strong ad­vo­cate for both func­tion and form, Konieczny’s apoc­a­lyp­tic safe house com­bines the per­fect use of min­i­mal­ism and safety. While some may say it’s a bit much, many would ar­gue other­wise. The house pos­sesses a mod­ern flair and an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing vibe when the guards are down, but at night it’s a fortress for rest.

Keep an open mind that you can’t have it all in life. I wish both func­tion and form were eas­ily achiev­able, but un­for­tu­nately that’s just not how the world works. If you ask me, Konieczny found the per­fect com­prise be­tween both av­enues. After all, when SHTF, aes­thet­ics should be the last worry you should have in mind. HD

“Much like a tulip, this house was de­signed to open dur­ing the day,

and close up at night”


Robert Konieczny of KWK Promes de­signed a fortress that opens dur­ing the day and closes at night.

This max­i­mum-se­cu­rity home is lo­cated out­side War­saw, Poland.

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