Architecture

Caja Oscura: The perfect post-apocalyptic bolt-hole?

Caja Oscura: The perfect post-...
Caja Oscura was completed in 2012 (Photo: Pedro Kok)
Caja Oscura was completed in 2012 (Photo: Pedro Kok)
View 23 Images
The metal box is set on custom-made pivots (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The metal box is set on custom-made pivots (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The box structure is constructed from iron tubes, with a galvanized corrugated metal exterior, and MDF interior (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The box structure is constructed from iron tubes, with a galvanized corrugated metal exterior, and MDF interior (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The unusual home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The unusual home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
Once the metal box is lifted, the upstairs area becomes a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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Once the metal box is lifted, the upstairs area becomes a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The house is located in the middle of a rural plot in Paraguay (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The house is located in the middle of a rural plot in Paraguay (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The interior looks relatively cosy, if a little dark (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The interior looks relatively cosy, if a little dark (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The unusual crab-like home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The unusual crab-like home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The outside is very minimalist in appearance and sports no visible windows when the box is lowered (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The outside is very minimalist in appearance and sports no visible windows when the box is lowered (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The metal box is operated with a hand-winch (Photo: Pedro Kok)
Caja Oscura was completed in 2012 (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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Caja Oscura was completed in 2012 (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The house is located in the middle of a rural plot in Paraguay (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The house is located in the middle of a rural plot in Paraguay (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The house was constructed at a price of €20,000 (roughly US$27,000) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The house was constructed at a price of €20,000 (roughly US$27,000) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The unusual crab-like home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The unusual crab-like home is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The outside is very minimalist in appearance and sports no visible windows when the box is lowered (Photo: Pedro Kok)
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The outside is very minimalist in appearance and sports no visible windows when the box is lowered (Photo: Pedro Kok)
Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
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Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
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Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
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Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
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Architectural drawing of the property (Image: Laboratorio de Arquitectura)
View gallery - 23 images

Paraguayan home Caja Oscura, by local architects Javier Corvalán and Laboratorio de Arquitectura, consists of a basement structure, with a manually-operated tilting metal box placed atop. With no natural light available when the box is closed, this unusual dwelling is probably not suitable for those who fear being trapped in a small enclosed space, but it is arguably the perfect place to ride out the Apocalypse ...

The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft), and contains a bedroom and bathroom in the crypt-like basement, with a kitchen and living area located in the metal box above (access is offered via a staircase). This latter area is transformed into a semi-outdoor space once raised with a hand-crank, and the metal box itself is constructed from iron tubes, with a galvanized corrugated metal exterior and MDF interior.

When closed, however, the structure appears to be very robust, safe from prying eyes, and more importantly, virtually impenetrable.

The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)
The property measures 85 sq m (914 sq ft) (Photo: Pedro Kok)

The actual impetus behind Caja Oscura's unique design, and whether or not such mundane practicalities as adequate ventilation and fire safety issues have been fully handled, isn't altogether clear.

"The project of Caja Oscura is a project of material and immaterial technology at the same time," explains the architect, somewhat vaguely. "In some way it is an antithesis of many known definitions of architecture, as the idea is made by absence of light."

To our minds though, it's obviously envisioned as the perfect post-apocalyptic retreat ready for the inevitable zombie rising – no need to be coy, Javier.

Caja Oscura was completed in 2012, at a cost of €20,000 (roughly US$27,000). The video below shows the roof box in operation.

Source: Laboratorio de Arquitectura via Arch Daily

La Caja Oscura de Javier Corvalán, Asunción, Paraguay

La Caja Oscura de Javier Corvalán, Asunción, Paraguay from Pedro Kok on Vimeo.

View gallery - 23 images
9 comments
The Skud
And is anybody living in it - or is it just an architect design effort? That 'tilting' crank looks slow and laborious to me. They do not mention water or power storage / supply either. Closed, what is the life expectancy of occupants, does it seal tight (suffocation) or still llow air (radiation or disease pollution)? If you could only last a short while, some survivor with an AK47 spraying through the gap would take over in minutes. .
MBadgero
Looks like a box trap. Would function like one in an emergency, too.
Jon Doughty
I see no peripheral vision the biggest enemy in a zombie apocalypse is the humans that are clinging to life being able to see them coming is a must. also the cranking of that is damn loud there is nothing worse than an unnatural clanking alarm that says kill me faster.
Windsor Wilder
When it's shut the kitchen/livingroom becomes a camera obscura. You can clearly see the surrounding countryside projected on the wall in one of the pictures.
Larry Hooten
Add air filtration below and solar water bottle lights on top, plus a few gun ports, and it might not be too bad... But use hydraulics to raise and lower the thing. That could help with the water situation as well.
Roger Aikins
If those walls are only tin a .22 round would even turn it to swiss cheese
ELM
What a death trap!!! In a bush/scrub fire, the iron exterior would heat so quick, it would then ignite the MDF interior turning that big square ugly box, into a microwave on high heat for about 60 seconds (well that's about how long you would be screaming in agony as you roast alive inside. And what is with the video, if I want to spend my morning just watching things tilt, then I will head down to the local garden supplies and watch the tip trucks. They could have have fast forward the tilt process down to 4 or 5 seconds, get rid of the guitar playing and actually show some of the features of the building design. Or is the tilt all it has to offer ?????
Windsor Wilder
@Roger Aikins: That's what the thick masonry walls on the first floor are for. As it is you could creep up to the obscured, cheaply built, second floor to make a cuppa without being seen while getting a panoramic view of what's going down outside. Okay, you don't have cover but sometimes concealment is good enough.
Slowburn
I'll take a dirigible .