Hidden Secret Rooms within Houses and Offices.
Hidden secret rooms within residential houses and offices are important in aiding for the security of the occupants. These are also useful as security during unfavorable weather e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes or security in case of fire outbreak.
Spaces can be created within the office and camouflaged by a book shelf or office cabinet
This can be a useful place to keep private belongings such as guns, cash and other sensitive documents. Also, in case of an intruder, it can also be a safe haven for the occupant. In the recent situation regarding Nairobi Governor, if his office had such a secret room, this would have saved him from having to deal with issues as they panned out.
Hidden secret rooms can be strategically located in most rooms within the house. If cost is an issue, the rooms can be located in a select few rooms.
These rooms can be used as children playing rooms or safes.
Secret rooms need to be fire proofed in case the house catches fire. Locating such rooms with direct access to external natural ventilation and encased in fireproof material is necessary.
The door can be similar to the bank vault doors which give at least 4 hours of fire safety.
The fire resistant doors should also restrict passage of smoke into the secret rooms.
Normal doors can be converted into 20/30 min fire resistant doors through addition of fireskins stuck on the door. The fireskins can be stuck on one or both sides.
Locating secret rooms underground, in the basement, safely assures protection from fire/heat.
The secret rooms should also be naturally ventilated in case of poisonous gas fumes from fire or any other source. Use of a camouflaged chimney incorporated into the design can assist in allowing natural light and ventilation especially for underground secret rooms.
Underground secret rooms can also be designed to exit outside into a Gazebo through a tunnel.
With this era of smart buildings, IT features can be incorporated into these secret rooms to aid occupants in opening entry/exit doors, communicating, setting alarm on/off and video/audio viewing/recording of activities within the house.
Insecurity can no longer be a reason for people not to live in certain places if such design interventions can be put in place.
Many a family has been traumatized by thugs hours on end in insecure neighborhoods. With use of early warning alarm systems, occupants can have a relaxed living knowing that they are safe.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.