daniel welham proposes the vault, a post-apocalyptic mining community
daniel welham proposes the vault, a post-apocalyptic mining community daniel welham proposes the vault, a post-apocalyptic mining community
mar 05, 2015

daniel welham proposes the vault, a post-apocalyptic mining community

daniel welham proposes the vault, a post-apocalyptic mining community 
all images courtesy of daniel whelan




cossack is a former town located in the pilbara region on the northern coastline of western australia. once the heart of australian pearling, it’s now an arid, deserted ghostown. a place of constant flooding, extreme heat, and some of the most powerful hurricanes to hit australia. ‘the vault’, is a mining city concept by architect daniel whelan built to withstand the region’s extraordinary weather. protection from the elements, as well as housing, and open space for temporary structures is all included within ‘the vault’. the goal of the project is to encourage human interaction and spirit within, while preserving life from the dangerous conditions outside.

cossack is hit by some of the most powerful cyclones in australia




in the past 100 years, over 90% of cossack’s original architecture has been destroyed by storms. ‘the vault’ responds to the unpredictability of nature with a series of innovations. ‘power poles’, taking on the shape of horizontal wind turbines, harness the wind’s energy. foldable solar panels collect energy from the constant sunlight above, and are able to be tucked away when conditions worsen. scavenged aircraft engines generate power as wind passes through them, and rain water collected from roofs fills empty fuel tanks. the few remaining historical buildings in cossack are protected by the city’s domed ‘pearl’ structure. named after the locations former prowess as australia’s largest pearl producer, it also functions as ‘the vault’s’ community building.

‘the vault’ is influenced by the star fortress, roman military camps and hakka walled villages

‘power poles’ harness energy from intense winds

 water collection from the roof is stored in old fuel tanks of aircraft wings

the fortified walls keep out wild animals and protects from weather

the pearl reflects cossack’s historic past as a once thriving pearling town

the city prepares for an impending storm

site plan

overall section

detailed section

elevations/floor plan



designboom has received this project through its ‘DIY submissions’ feature, which welcomes readers to submit their own work for publication. see more designboom readers submissions here.

  • I really liked the Mad Max Interceptor tucked away in the principle illustration. Not much to say about the rest of the proposal (although it is refreshing to see some PPE on display).

    Adam Brocklehurst says:
  • Great project, I have been out to this area a few times (not Cossack itself, but close enough) and although it looks like a crazy proposal it is actually in context to the place. I also think it is quite funny the architect has designed an off the grid mining town run on renewable energy, when the main resource being mined out there is coal (fossil fuels). There is definitely a message in that, along with many others if you look into it bit more. And yes props for the Mad max reference!

    John says:
  • wondering what will happen if that tornado in the background crosses the wall into the compound. It will probably swipe clean all the buildings inside and temporary homes.

    Bogdan says:

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