If you're a supervillain, one thing you need to think long and hard about is real estate. Where can you store all of your evil gadgets? How can you stay off of a superhero's radar while remaining comfy? Where will the minions live? We have a few ideas based on real places from around the world.
Photo of Refuge du Goûter by Jcsalmon, Wikimedia Commons.
There is, of course, always the option of taking over a currently operating scientific institution. We have some fun and terrible ideas for places like CERN headquarters and the Global Seed Vault.
Above ground, this house is relatively unassuming—well, if you can use that word to describe any place with a private runway. But below ground sits a second 2300-square-foot residence, perfect for kicking back and watching your evil machinations unfold. The real gem, though, is the 52' diameter x 178' deep, 9-floor steel superstructure, which has an ambient temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit and 20,000 square feet of usable space. Just think of the nefarious experiments you could perform far from prying eyes.
Sadly, this particular piece of real estate is no longer in existence, but it would have been perfect for the more ostentatious villain who likes to literally look down upon his or her fellow humans. And, as far as his neighbors were concerned, Zhang Biqing, who was behind its construction, was a bit of a villain. The wealthy professor and physician paid crews to build a fake mountain top on a 26-story apartment building under the cover of night, and after six years he had a mountain retreat in the middle of the city. In August 2013, city management authorities ordered the structure destroyed and by the end of December, it had been completely dismantled.
Refuge du Goûter
If you're still itching for that mountaintop lair but prefer one in the actual mountains, head up Mont Blanc in the Alps and take over the Refuge du Goûter. Commissioned by the French Alpine Club and designed by the Swiss architect Hervé Dessimoz, this building was actually designed as a refuge for mountain climbers and has the advantage of being self-sufficient for energy and water. It's a great place to get away and plot while staying off the grid.
Photo by Coronium, Wikimedia Commons.
For the supervillain with a minion army and a love for James Bond movies, there is the Regierungsbunker located outside of Bonn, Germany. This massive emergency hideout was constructed between 1960 and 1972, and meant to house the German government in the event of a war emergency. Don't let the outside fool you; the interior houses a swinging Sixties lair, with plush couches and groovy lighting. It even comes equipped with its own television studio, the perfect spot to film your demands for cash. Check out photos of the interior at Spiegel Online.
Photo by Manfred Böckling M.A., via Wikimedia Commons.
Speaking of Bond movies, Raoul Silva's island lair in Skyfall was based on the real-life Hashima Island, which operated as a coal mining facility off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan but has since been abandoned. Although it looks cool and has a particularly great nickname ("Battleship Island"), this is a particular fixer-upper if you're looking to turn it into a functional supervillain lair.
Image by kntrty, Wikimedia Commons.
If The Incredibles taught us anything, it's that the best supervillain lairs are built inside volcanos. The house built by broadcaster Huell Howser in 2003 is the next best thing, a UFO-shaped house situated atop a volcanic cone. It's now owned by Chapman University, so you can kick up your heels there while working on your PhD in Horribleness.
See more photos at Take Sunset.
Known far and wide across the Internet as the "Zombie House," the Safe House designed by KWK Promes is great for anyone who needs to fend off the occasional pesky superhero attack while maintaining a sense of style and comfort. Your lovely home turns into a fortress when you shut all the windows and doors. Watch it in action below:
Nothing quite says "supervillain" like a submarine dry dock. This Royal Norwegian Navy auxiliary base located just outside the city of Tromsø offers roughly 145,000-square feet of above-ground buildings and 270,000-square feet of bombproof interior mountain space. Plus a submarine dry dock and hangar and an emergency tunnel system. Of course, a few sharks wouldn't hurt. In 2012, the base was reportedly put up for sale for $17.5 million.
Photos from Finn.no.
If you want something with more menace on the outside than within, there is this building, constructed into the side of a mountain in Margreid, Italy. On the outside, this looming black structure, designed by architecture firm Bergmeister Wolf seems to be advertising a nefarious legion of villainy. On the inside, it's a rather simple and tidy fire station.
Really, the human-made archipelago that sits off the coast of Dubai would work well for an entire community of supervillains. And the islands may very well have a touch of evil to them; much has been made on their negative short-term impact on marine life. They may also not be the most practical place to park your lair, due to the erosion of the islands. But if you nab them all, you can say that you conquered the world and technically be speaking the truth.
Photo by NASA, via Wikimedia Commons.