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Why Panic Rooms Are Going to Outlast the Pyramids

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And more, from A Burglar's Guide to the City author Geoff Manaugh


In his book A Burglar's Guide to the City, BLDGBLOG founder Geoff Manaugh devotes a section to safe rooms, the fortified hideouts that paranoid wealthy people (or the ones who have particular reason to be scared) build in their homes. In particular, he talks about the work of safe and vault designer Karl Alizade, who tests his safe rooms against old Russian military equipment and high-powered explosives.

"I joke in the book that this guy has inadvertently created an architecture that’s going to outlast the pyramids," Manaugh says. "There are going to be the homes of dead pharmaceutical CEOs in rural New Jersey that have collapsed into the dusts of time, but then there are going to be these little safe rooms in the core of it all outlasting human civilization."

Manaugh is the guest on this week's episode of our podcast, The Curbed Appeal, talking about a lot more than safe rooms. We get into some of histories most ingenious burglars, the methods they used, and the intensive architectural knowledge they ended up cultivating, as well as some of the best heist movies out there and how difficult it is to pronounce the word "burglary."

Geoff's favorite movies in which people break into buildings (that he can name of the top of his head, not necessarily in order):

Die Hard

The Thomas Crown Affair

The Italian Job

Street Thief (best portrayal of realistic burglary, if not the best film)

Episode 6: Geoff Manaugh [Soundcloud]

The Curbed Appeal [iTunes]

A Burglar's Guide to the City [Amazon]

How Criminals Use the Urban Landscape [Curbed]