How often do you fantasize of one day leaving everything behind and moving to a quaint little house nestled somewhere in the countryside? Maybe you see yourself in a scenic villa overlooking the Swiss Alps. If that’s you, then you might want to pay attention or that European villa might end up being much more than you bargained for.
That is exactly the case with these chalets which aren’t chalets at all, but military bunkers in disguise. The photographs all come from artist Christian Schwager who put together a series titled “False Chalets” highlighting the camouflaged military bunkers that remained a military secret until recently.
It wasn’t until 2004 that these decades-old military bunkers began to be uncovered. Imagine the surprise of finding out the house you grew up next to was really a weapons armory for the government.
Most of these bunkers were constructed during WWII as a way to covertly store armaments and shelter for troops passing through.
According to Christian, there are around 250 of these well-covered military outposts, and there are even more still waiting to be uncovered.
For his project, Christian visited over 100 of these sites which were scattered throughout the country.
In Geneva during WWII, the Swiss government set up a line of defense known as “The Promenthouse Line.” It featured 12 armed fortresses, but disguised among them were these two houses which look more like they came from a Disney movie than from WWII.
The designers of the homes were held to strict standards so as not to give up the secret that the property was holding. They were required to have the bunker deceive the human eye from a minimum of 20 meters while also using authentic shutters and landscaping.
The Swiss government wanted to protect the perceived natural beauty and peacefulness of the country. Would tourists still view them the same if they saw open and running military bunkers in every village? These architectural facades protected not only their troops but the country’s image as a whole.
To construct the facades, the Swiss government put together a ragtag team of artists and theater set designers to transform concrete shelters into passable homes that would blend in with the country’s gorgeous architecture and natural beauty.
Each of these seemingly simple villas were fortified with seven foot thick concrete walls.Some of them were even stockpiled with grenades.
After Christian went public with his photographs, the Swiss government embraced their secret military past and began to refurbish some of the sites as popular tourist destinations.