How the "global super-rich" have honeycombed London's posh neighbourhoods with sub-basements, sub-sub-basements, and sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-basements


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/15/pharaonic-plutocracy.html


#2

I think they just are Minecraft enthusiasts. I know I love building expansive sub basements under my otherwise modest houses, in case of zombie attack.


#3

I ended up at a party in a Edwardian mansion in SF. The historic structures comprised a full 1/4 of the block (mansion, 4 car garage and, I don’t know… carriage house?). The basement had clearly been dug out and there was a huge wine cellar and an unfinished living area that was being used as a skate park by the owner’s son. We ended up staying the night in one of the dozens of guet rooms. It was weird. Can’t say I’d actually want to live that way.


#4

Did anyone ever buy the Kingsway Tunnels complex?


http://www.guerrillaexploring.com/gesite/public_html/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=355&jjj=1526394052180


#5

My whole being just can not grasp this type of ego driven greed and senseless materialism. All of these mega wealthy folks can do so much good for the world, and yet, here we are, this is epitome of the human species. This is what we have become. My motto is, ‘Live simply so that others may simply live.’ Some may say that is too idealistic. Really? Is it? Sure, it’s nice to live comfortably, have affordable health care, good healthy food, clean water and air, maybe enough money to travel a little bit. But this? I wonder, if there is a cosmic force, an ethereal being, maybe even an alien life form so advanced, that they would observe us a species, and our cosmic fate, our karma was to be judged by them, I wonder if they would simply determine for the sake of the health of our planet and all other species on Earth, we just needed to be eliminated.


#6

We used to have a societal value that conspicuous consumption is vulgar and low. Used to.


#7

But if it’s hidden underground, it’s not conspicuous, is it? :wink:


#8

I’ve read that it’s usually too expensive to get the excavating machinery back out of the sub-sub-basement, so they dig a little deeper and bury it. Don’t know if that’s an urban legend or truth… but I can tell you that excavators cost anywhere from $50,000 to 500,000.


#9

My sub-basement does not hold luxury cars. I had it built for bad children.


#10

this will go from reasonably good to incredibly bad
that’s why the london transport uses the term mind the gap


#11

I think the royal mail have some spaces for the mail trains


#12

Here in NYC they buried an $8MM boring machine because it would have cost at least $9MM to get it out of the tunnel it dug.

https://untappedcities.com/2017/02/09/the-200-ton-tunnel-boring-machine-buried-below-park-avenue-used-for-east-side-access/


#13

HEY! I’m doing this right now! It’s a tradition in my neighborhood, too!

My neighborhood sprang up like shitty mushrooms overnight during the post-war housing shortage. The crawlspaces were less than 12" deep, and to get access to repair the plumbing, you have to hand dig out tons of clay. I’m one of the few houses that still has the original crawlspace - for now. Most of the rest of the neighborhood continued digging until the ‘crawlspaces’ were 6 1/2 feet deep, which is too short to meet the legal definition of a basement. These crawlspaces have walkouts, egress windows, carpets, electricity - and they can’t be taxed because of the city’s outdated codes.

I keep hoping to find a dinosaur fossil, in which case, I’ll just set the house on fire and sell the dig site.

One of many Colorado construction digs turning into dinosaur dig


#14

Rise of the mole people!


#15

I was thinking Morlocks. When the revolution comes these superrich will have to hide in their basements for generations until a new, horrible, breed appear.


#16

The work to construct them is probably very conspicuous.


#17

We had this out in the previous story about that: most people felt it was unlikely to be widespread as the owner would have no real incentive to make the dig easier for the contractor (me), it would be ground pollution in their house, and would show up in plans (others).

You can get excavators suitable for digging down in sub-basements for buttons. The 50-500 thousand type would likely be too big. I’d say it’s unlikely there aren’t a few down there as getting them out might be an issue and the cost is trivial in the context of the dig.

Edit.

Some diggers https://www.donedeal.ie/all?words=excavator


#18

These deep stores of wealth comprise "76 swimming pools, 456 cinemas, 996 gyms, 381 wine stores and cellars, 340 games and recreation rooms, 241 saunas or steam rooms, 115 staff quarters, including bedrooms for nannies and au pairs, 65 garages, 40 libraries, two gun stores, a car museum, a banquet hall and an artificial beach."

Good, just stay down there and leave us the hell alone.


#19

seems like the logical conclusion of HPOZ and height restrictions, no?


#20

Western Old Money continues to maintain that cultural value, even as it waxes and wanes amongst the West’s nouveau riche. The latest spins taking us toward a new Gilded Age are billionaires from cultures where conspicuous consumption is considered a virtue establishing themselves in North America and the UK and also a poor person’s idea of a rich person currently occupying the Oval Office and validating the idea of trashy tastelessness as the mark of a wealthy person.

An indoor pool is usually in the basement of a single family home, especially in places with winters, so this would still be happening.

Of course, the core cause has less to do with zoning regulations than it does with the old problem of “more money than sense.”