Norway reveals design for “doomsday” seed vault

Architecture geeks are salivating over Norway’s release of the design of an agricultural “doomsday vault.” The structure, which will cost $5 million to build and $125,000 a year to run, will hold seeds for the world’s 1.5 million distinct crop varieties. You know, in case the guy who survives the apocalypse gets the nibbles. Lined with three-foot-thick concrete, it will sit nearly 400 feet inside a mountain on the Svalbard archipelago, near the North Pole. “It will be the best freezer in the world by several orders of magnitude,” says Cary Fowler of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a project partner. “The seeds will be safe there for decades.” Designers say the vault’s entrance will “gleam like a gem in the midnight sun,” but sadly, few will ever see that. Scheduled to open in 2008, the ark will require just one annual inspection. “If you design a facility to be used in worst-case scenarios,” Fowler points out, “then you cannot actually have too much dependency on human beings.”