Architecture of the perfect zombie apocalypse refuge

2017-05-19 16:17:15

Your mission, whether or not you choose to accept it, is to design the perfect refuge from the zombie apocalypse.

Starting assumptions and constraints:

The zombies will be slow (walking) zombies (aka The Walking Dead zombies) and not

runners (aka 28 Days Later zombies).

The refuge should be able to achieve self-sufficiency during or

shortly after the apocalypse.

It should support a minimum of 50 people but something over 500 would

be preferable.

Ratio of kids to adults is 1:3.

Zombieness is transferred by bites only.

You do not need to worry about humans attacking your perfect refuge.

The question:

What sort of refuge could stand up to a sustained zombie mob, keep the normal humans safe, and provide fresh food & water?

Bonus points if it's possible to build your refuge after the

apocalypse starts.

Bonus points if it allows the human survivors to eliminate any

zombies that come near.

Well as I see it you have two potential options.

Buy a Caribbean island an

  • Well as I see it you have two potential options.

    Buy a Caribbean island and relax away the zombie apocalypse on the beach with rum and grass skirts.

    Build a massive fortress.

    While option 1 is far and away the better choice it isn't very interesting...

    So. What would this fortress need?


    Geographically isolated...the farther away from "civilization" the better.

    Ready, internal access to clean water, either by spring or river (walls over the river with steel grates

    Seaside. Zombies don't usually swim. If somehow they make it in, having docks and ships on which to escape would be good.

    Arable land. You want plains or forests or both, gives you raw materials and access to natural resources.

    Walls. Big, thick steel reinforced concrete walls...or stone depending on what's available.

    The walls should enclose not only the living spaces but farmlands as well.

    The areas near the wall should be napalmed every summer to keep plant growth down so nothing can sneak up on yo

    2017-05-19 16:23:46
  • This is my solution, right here:

    Preferably in a rainy area of the country, like Seattle. But even somewhere like California, that actually receives enough rainwater to resupply itself but throws it away with flood control would probably work well enough if you were willing to ration.

    Consider the needs:

    Construction supplies for fortification and for comfortable human habitation (you are going to want a chair to sit on if you are living somewhere with a concrete floor). It goes without saying that Home Depot is already a concrete building which is fairly well fortified, but you can also make it stronger...with what you already have in Home Depot. Plus most of them have an outdoor (but fenced in) gardening center, meaning you gain critical sunlight and land space in a protected area.

    Plenty of space for exercise and survival: Home Depot Stores average 105,000 square feet. The Massachusetts government recommends 15-20 square feet per person. That's a lot of people (about 5000, w

    2017-05-19 16:24:17
  • This is really more of a comment, but since I was interested in sharing the picture, here is a building considered to be "the best" zombie fortress: an elevator structure over an abandoned Japanese coal mine

    The structure has most of the attributes of a fortress, including being strongly built, in a relatively isolated location, and has the added bonus of being on "stilts" to make it harder for zombies or other "undesirables" to enter. Being made of concrete, it is fire resistant and proof against most primitive weapons and even small arms fire.

    The superstructure is also large enough to hold a fairly comprehensive supply depot for the survivors, has clear fields of fire in most directions and room for a fair number of survivors (as well as room for people to get away from each other for a while, since being cooped up with people for long periods of time while under stress could lead to confrontations and fighting among the survivors).

    About the only weakness of the structure is t

    2017-05-19 16:30:58
  • I think the best location to be during a zombie apocalypse is on a ship. Not your average yacht, but something more respectable like an aircraft carrier.

    Advantages of an aircraft carrier:

    Although the minimum of 50 people in the question probably won't be enough to run a carrier, you don't need to worry about more people soon. For example a Nimitz class aircraft carrier has over 6000 personnel on board.

    Usually zombies aren't able to swim, but maybe because of evolution and a strong desire for brains they will learn how to swim. But when they will reach the carrier they won't be able to climb on board because of the angle they need to climb (most parts more then 90 degrees), they'll simply fall of. Do remember to refrain from dropping the anchor, they might climb on board via the chain.

    You're free to go wherever you want, 71% of the earth is covered by water so you can go cruising around the world if you're bored.

    Many big cities are close to seas and oceans. Big cities means l

    2017-05-19 16:37:32
  • All you need to build the perfect base (against infected) are industrial docks.

    As you can see you are surrounded on three sides by water, this mean you only need to worry about the entrance which is explained lower down. You can use the water as both a drink source (combined with rain collectors) and an escape route. You can (though it's hard work) bring in soil for farm animals and crops.

    Now for sleeping and defense you only need the shipping crates and a crane (or strong forklift). Stack two crates for rooms; the top is for sleeping in case the perimeter is over run in also cannot be reached without a ladder or rope. and the bottom is for storage. As for defense, simply make two rows of crates against each other with the first row having another row on top of them. kind of an L shape.

    Like this but one block shorter. You can blowtorch doors and windows in them to make them into quick metal buildings.

    With enough people you can get one dock done in a week. then

    2017-05-19 16:39:40
  • When I lived on the southcoast of the UK, I had my perfect Zombie defense refuge a few miles away, in the middle of the Solent.

    Previously built as a defensive structure, it has been subsequently converted into a luxury hotel.

    An ample supply of fish around, well stocked kitchens - no zombies are getting in here!

    2017-05-19 16:48:30
  • How long term does it really need to be? If you're in a cold enough climate they should all just freeze in the winter and rot unto uselessness during the subsequent thaw.

    Virtually any community above the permafrost line would carry on practically as usual in this zombie apocalypse.

    2017-05-19 16:53:55
  • Super-yacht.

    A super-yacht is by far the best refuge in which to weather a zombie apocalypse. Super-yachts are upwards of 150 feet long and easily sleep 50 people. But this is based on the tricky assumption that you can acquire a super-yacht before the apocalypse breaks out, or make it to, and de-zombie the super-yacht of its newly zombiefied oligarch owner, entourage, crew and dancing girls after the dead rise. Assuming that you can, you will have a great place to chill while the world tears itself apart.

    A super-yacht of sufficient blinginess can make its own fresh water with on board desalination and can run for months on end on the gargantuan fuel tanks - provided you don't move around too much. At anchor you would only need fuel to run the generators, not the main engines themselves, and the only weak point in your luxury fortress would be your anchor chain.

    Zombies can walk on the seabed and may spot the lights and hot tub antics of your crew of survivors from the shore. So

    2017-05-19 17:01:15
  • Rural Siberia. Preferably, a small village that can only be reached by air (no roads). The locals could help newcomers survive without civilization.

    Even if zombies try to traverse the taiga, they are likely to break limbs when going without roads, get lost, sucked in swamps, frozen, or/and eaten by wolves or bears. (Please, disregard this answer if the bears can be infected.)

    2017-05-19 17:01:34
  • In establishing a secure location, a fortified settlement there are three basic things you need to consider: First, the location. Second, the location. And third, the location. The relative order of importance might vary.

    The location must have adequate logistics. There must be a water supply. Food must be available. This means either good transport connections or some secure farm land attached. In modern times fuel and ammunition would also be considered vital supplies. These can't be produced by opportunistic farming, so the refuge should be near a major city or a military base that has significant stores of necessities to scavenge regardless of whether it is still in operation. A military supply depot would almost by definition have everything you need to survive hostile environment.

    The location should have some strategic value in either operations against the enemy or preventing the enemy from operating. In context, this would mean it should have enough space for a growing num

    2017-05-19 17:03:46
  • This is a slight variant on the "Caribbean Island" theme. The problem with this is solution is that currents may bring to your island a random zombie. After 50 years spent far from the world, you are not prepared to deal with it.

    A possibly better solution is to find an island on a river. This has a few additional benefits:

    By staying close to the threat, you are effectively keeping yourself sharp. Of course fortifying the island is a good idea in order to avoid washed-up zombies, however you can still keep a small port downstream. The more current there is around your island, the less likely it is for a zombie to manage to cross it.

    Freshwater is always a good thing to have, and makes for easier irrigation. Also running water is a good sewer-system to avoid your population catching diseases. Also something along the lines of water-mills could allow you to keep making some electricity.

    The best ways to get on land would be either by boat or using draw-bridges, and the usual tricks

    2017-05-19 17:06:25
  • Electric fences

    In many ways, zombies are roughly similar to triffids from John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids: they are slow-moving, tenacious, not very intelligent, but will kill you if they get near you.

    Towards the end of this book, the protagonists create a safe enclosure for themselves in a cottage in the South Downs. Their main defence against triffids is an electric fence, sufficiently high and well-wired that it's impossible to get over or through and sufficiently powerful to knock triffids/zombies flying.


    It can be powered by a home generator, e.g. by solar or wind power, so no mains electricity needed.

    It can surround a large area of land, so you can grow your own food and have a small self-sufficient colony within the protected region.


    It takes time to set up.

    It needs to be constantly patrolled for any sign of damage to the fence: if those wires give way, you're screwed!

    2017-05-19 17:10:17
  • To keep out zombies with mere walls you need some pretty tall walls. Think of the scene in World War Z where the Israeli defenses are breached--the zombies know there are brains on the other side of the wall, they blindly keep coming, climbing upon each other. (The movie got it wrong, though, it wouldn't be cooperative pyramids, just a mass.) Given enough zombies they can climb quite a wall.

    Thus walls are far from an optimum defense. Instead, consider a star fort. When the zombies encounter the fort they'll proceed along the walls (doing so moves them closer to the brains inside) and come to the junctions. At each entrance place a tunnel--the tunnel has a floor that will drop away 1 second after a load is placed on it. The zombie falls down into something you have devised to be lethal to zombies--say, a giant-size wood chipper.

    2017-05-19 17:14:49
  • Just pick a regular set of farmland and town. Then you build zombie traps around it, out of sight/hearing from your settlement.

    Zombies are really stupid, so this would just need to be something like a cattle pen. You have a minimally fortified central 'bait' area where humans make noise, emit odors, generally attract the walkers. They drive themselves into chutes, and are stopped by a nice fence from reaching the bait. But being zombies, they just sit there, so small groups in sealed shelters come out behind and drop a gate behind. Exterminate the Zs from a safe distance, rinse and repeat.

    Eventually there won't be any left in the area.

    2017-05-19 17:18:04
  • Location: A farm near a river with a natural or manmade stream coming into the farm and irrigating the crops as well as providing drinking water. Should be a place with plenty of wind

    Energy: Large wind turbines and solar panels across the area.

    Security: high walls around the whole area, with deep ditches dug on the outside which are 30 feet or more deep and 15-20 feet wide. cut down all the trees near the ditches so that none accidentally falls and creates a bridge. all the walls have outward facing fans with sharp blades for fins which run on the electricity from the wind mills and solar panels. these will defend against any zombie that reaches the wall although we have made sure they cant, doesn't hurt to be safer.

    Feed the batteries with a turbine running on the river water as well. Can't hurt to have more electricity.

    The farm will produce food, we have water, energy, defence.

    2017-05-19 17:18:29
  • Get your group to Mammoth Cave

    Or any number of popular cave/cavern destinations. If you happen to be in Central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave would be ideal.

    Survival: short-term

    If you are already near a popular cave tourist destination, chances are there are going to be plenty of supplies in the nearby town, not to mention everything that is already on-site: food, clean water, camping gear, rope, lanterns, etc. Also, any cave entrances will probably already be secured by whatever park service ran the cave operation.

    Take as much gear and supplies as you can inside the cave, and barricade yourself in.

    Survival: middle-term

    Tourism caves are already wired for electricity and lighting. With any luck, the power grid is still active when you show up. Otherwise, there should be backup power generators on-site. Either way, you'll need power.

    Make sure the generators have enough fuel to last a while. When your jerky and Twinkies start running out, you're going to have to think of a better

    2017-05-19 17:20:33
  • How about an abbey?

    Completely self-sufficient places. I would personally prefer Redwall, but considering that it doesn't exist, and it designed for mouses...

    It doesn't takes too much effort to rebuild this place into a fort, just place the fences in between the trees.

    Note: this place was large enough to be used as barracks.

    And as you can see, it's reichdiculously easy to spot slow zombies from the bell tower.

    Bonus point:

    "I was an adventurer just like you, until I took an arrow into the knee."

    I get that Americans are gun crazy, but as chainsaws run out of fuel, so do guns from munition. You don't have to face this problem if you're able to create more.

    Other possible shelter locations:

    The Pirate Bay's servers.

    My school. seriously, it has a metric ton of computers, an effective moat, you just need to fill it with water. The place is large and is like a maze, also there are doors of unknown function, that are iron, and can be moved over the normal door, and then

    2017-05-19 17:29:07