The Barracks were a secure residential compound on the Island, comprising of houses and other surface buildings with electricity and water service, plus an unknown number of underground facilities. Originally constructed by the DHARMA Initiative, the Others took control of them after the Purge, using the compound as their home and base of operations on the Island.
The Others abandoned the Barracks in 2004 in anticipation of the arrival of the mercenary team sent by Charles Widmore. When the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 split into two groups, Locke's group temporarily resided in the Barracks. Since then, the Barracks had been abandoned.
The DHARMA Initiative
The Barracks were built sometime in the early 1970's, likely not long after the DHARMA Initiative's arrival on the Island. They were used to house DHARMA Initiative scientists, support staff, and their families. The Barracks were designed to be an entire utopian community or small town with all the amenities of civilization of that era. Residents had all of the conveniences of modern living, such as electricity, plumbing, ovens, refrigerators, books, record players, and so on. DHARMA staff also appear to have taken part in recreational leisure activities, with individuals riding bikes across the grounds.
At some point after their arrival, the DHARMA Initiative entered into a long-running conflict with a group "indigenous" to the Island, known as the Hostiles. After numerous skirmishes, the conflict ended when the Hostiles, in alliance with certain members of the Initiative including Ben Linus, flooded the Barracks with toxic gas killing at least forty in a single stroke. Some time afterwards, the Barracks were taken over by the Others: a group consisting of the Hostiles, ex-DHARMA personnel, and people recruited from the outside world. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
The Others appeared to have constructed a tight-knit community within the Barracks - and appear to have maintained ties with the outside world, per the appearance of clothing, books, CDs, electronics, and other items of recent origin. Their community also had their own book club. It is not known how many Others lived at the Barracks, although Jack estimated at least fifty. ("Left Behind")
The survivors' discovery of the Barracks began when Sayid found a map in the Flame with the location marked on it. According to Sayid, the map showed "electrical and data cabling running from the Flame... to a place called the Barracks". He also said that the Barracks were "comprised of houses and dormitories, with water and power, large enough to accommodate an entire community." He correctly surmised that this was the location of the Others' home on the Island. ("Enter 77")
Sayid, Kate, Locke, and Danielle Rousseau were the first to discover the Barracks after bypassing the sonar fence, and were subsequently captured. The Others, however, unexpectedly abandoned the Barracks after this incident - leaving for The Temple. This move was likely a response to the freighter approaching the Island sent by Charles Widmore. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("Left Behind")
Locke's group temporarily settled in the Barracks, believing it to be one of the most secure areas remaining on the Island. This illusion was shattered, however, by an attack on the Barracks by the freighter mercenaries. ("The Economist") ("The Shape of Things to Come")
Since that time, the Barracks was completely abandoned. After the emergency landing of Ajira Airlines Flight 316 in 2007, Frank, Sun, Ben, and Locke returned to the Barracks which appeared to be suffering from three years of age and neglect. Why the Others did not resume occupation of the facility is unknown. ("Namaste") ("Dead Is Dead")
After the death of Juliet, Sawyer left the Temple despite the warnings by Dogen that he should not leave. Soon afterwards Kate and Jin went after him with two Others, Justin and Aldo. Kate knocked out both men and found Sawyer, at his and Juliet's home at the Barracks, on her own. Kate and Sawyer discussed Juliet's death at the submarine jetty and Sawyer told Kate he had been planning to ask Juliet to marry him. He then threw Juliet's engagement ring into the water and told Kate to go back to the temple while he remained there. ("What Kate Does")
Later on that day, Sawyer continued to get drunk in his home and listened to a song titled "Search and Destroy" while the smoke monster arrived at the barracks and looked into his home. A little while later the Man in Black walked up to Sawyer's home in the guise of John Locke. While in the house, Sawyer and the Man in Black shared a drink and Sawyer questioned who the Man in Black was because he was not scared, while the real John Locke always was. The Man in Black then said that, if Sawyer came with him, he could provide the answer to the most important question there was: Why are you on this Island? After some initial reluctance, Sawyer agreed to go along. ("The Substitute")
Richard Alpert, Benjamin Linus, and Miles Straume traveled to the Barracks to collect explosives to destroy the Ajira plane, after Hurley destroyed all of the Black Rock's remaining dynamite. ("Everybody Loves Hugo") Not long after arriving at Ben's old house they encountered a fleeing Charles Widmore and Zoe. After finding out the Man in Black arrived at the dock, Miles fled the Barracks, Widmore and Zoe hid in the secret room, and Richard and Ben went out to confront him. Richard was then attacked by the Monster, and thrown out of sight. Ben then led The Man In Black to Widmore, where he killed Zoe and Ben shot and killed Widmore. ("What They Died For") Miles later located Richard in the nearby jungle, and they used an outrigger rigged at the dock to go to Hydra Island. ("The End")
In the "flash-sideways", in which the Island was somehow submerged beneath the ocean, the Barracks were seen, mostly intact. It is unknown how the Island sank or what caused it to do so. ("LA X, Part 1")
It is not entirely clear where many of the Barracks locations are in respect to one another. Signficant locations will be described here.
During the time of the DHARMA Initiative and later under custody of the Others, the Barracks were extremely well kept with neatly mowed and watered lawns. Attractive concrete pathways wound their way between the buildings lined with what appeared to be solar-powered garden lights. A number of speakers were set at occasion along the paths along with posts containing security cameras and floodlights which could be activated on the event of a security breach. The Barracks had no telephone or electrical poles - which suggests the presence of an underground power distribution system. Several white picket fences seemed to denote various yards or garden areas.
Neglected for some three years, by 2007 the grounds were definitely showing signs of age, neglect, and abandonment.
In a video podcast, Co-Executive Producer Jean Higgins revealed that, while the outside of the houses are filmed at YMCA Camp Erdman in Hawaii, the interior shots are all filmed using a single set with decoration changes as appropriate to ownership of the house.
Heather's house (1974)
Sawyer and Juliet's house (1974-77)
Sawyer (AKA LaFleur) and Juliet lived together in one of the houses. ("LaFleur")
Building 15 (1977)
In 1977 a burning DHARMA van crashed into a house. When LaFleur called for help over the walkie, he identified the house as building 15. Several unnamed DHARMA members were rescued from the burning building. ("He's Our You")
Horace's house (1977)
In 1977, Richard Alpert breached a wall in the Tunnels for Jack and Sayid such that they could carry the bomb core to the Swan site. The opening led into Horace Goodspeed's basement. ("The Incident, Part 1")
Juliet's house (2004)
Juliet's house was where she lived for three years after coming to the Island. It was a yellow, one story house, and as described by Ben, there were two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Later, Hurley was briefly imprisoned in a closet in this house. ("A Tale of Two Cities") ("Eggtown") ("The Other Woman")
In Lost: The Official Magazine Volume 1, Issue 9, official art by Scott Cobb shows Juliet's house having wooden roof beams, a television set, a dining room table, and the area where the book club met. A kitchen is also seen, as well as a hallway leading, presumably, to the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Ben's house (2004)
Unlike most of the houses at the Barracks, Ben's house was two stories. The house contained a collection of paintings of various locations on the Island; these were mounted upon the walls in at least two rooms. There were also photographs of Alex at various ages also framed on the walls, as well as a painting of a woman, which was also seen in the Linus' home in "The Man Behind the Curtain". There were also various carved masks and relics hanging throughout the house. The living room area contained a large heavy bookshelf with many volumes. Among the works seen were The Quran, Red Man's Religion, and Kings of Love. Since Ben's surgery in Season 3, the house was retrofitted to make access and living easier for a wheelchair-bound occupant, including a motorized bed. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
Hidden behind one of the paintings in the living room is a safe with two objects inside: a videotape marked "Red Sox" containing a recording of Charles Widmore and a folder which Ben claimed contained everything he knew about Widmore. ("The Other Woman")
A large, heavy bookcase in the living room of Ben's house concealed a doorway into a secret closet. The room appeared to be some sort of office or wardrobe. Numerous changes of clothing and shoes were present and the desk contained large bundles of cash in a variety of international currencies, multiple passports belonging to Ben in various aliases. The room also had a thick, heavy barrier that dropped down to seal the entrance from the rest of the house. ("The Economist") ("The Shape of Things to Come")
Beyond a hanging row of suit jackets in the closet lay yet another hidden door, this one made of stone with carvings and appearing to be extremely old. Beyond this door was a small tunnel leading downward to a pool of stagnant brown water. The Monster could be summoned by pulling a plug at the bottom fo the pool, allowing the water to escape through a drain. ("The Shape of Things to Come") ("Dead Is Dead")
The house's basement was older and more industrial looking than the floor above it. Ben used it to hold Locke's father, Anthony Cooper and Locke used it later to imprison Ben. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("Eggtown")
Jack's house (2004)
Jack lived with the Others briefly while Ben was in recovery after his surgery. The house Jack was assigned to was rigged with security cameras. The house contained a main living area including a piano and a short corridor leading, presumably, to a bedroom. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
Claire's house (2004)
Communal buildings, northern cluster
The Welcome Center was the first stop for recruits after they have been checked in at the Processing Center. It was the source for any information regarding departments and procedures on the island. The center was also used for training and educational programs.
Beneath the building east of the Welcome Center was located an underground bunker-like security office. Access to the Security Office was restricted to authorized personnel only. A large bank of eight monitors (similar to those seen at the Pearl, the Flame, and the Hydra) provided live security feeds from various areas of the Barracks including the sonar fence. The DHARMA Initiative appeared to have had security personnel stationed here continuously. One of the DHARMA security guards made a joke about the polar bears escaping their cages, hinting that other stations could be monitored from this location. The room also contained a reel-to-reel tape player capable of playing music on the room's speakers. ("LaFleur") ("Namaste") The office may also have been the location where the Others monitored Jack during his stay at the Barracks. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
An adjacent room contained a jail cell which was used briefly to hold Sayid in 1977. The room contained a security camera which apparently had picture, but no sound. ("Namaste") ("He's Our You") Why the Others did not use the jail cell for holding Kate, Sayid ,and Locke is unknown. Possibly Anthony Cooper may have been held here for a time. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("Left Behind")
The security office was not a station, but it and its associated workers had their own DHARMA logo.
South of the Welcome Center lay one of the larger buildings in the Barracks, the recreation hall. It contained numerous games and other leisure activities for the entertainment of DHARMA personnel. Among the collection was a pool table, foosball table, two arcade games, and a collection of other boardgames including Mouse Trap and backgammon. Kate was held captive by the Others in this room for a time and Locke's faction later held Ben and Sayid here. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("Left Behind") ("The Economist").
Communal buildings, southern cluster
The Barracks also included a school to educate the children of DHARMA personnel. In one conversation, Horace referred to the school as offering a "quality education." The walls of the schoolroom were decorated with hand-drawings of the main DHARMA logo, as well as a drawing of a girl swimming with a dolphin, some smaller fish, and the submarine. The picture was labeled, "Me and my fish". (Season 3 DVD) In "The Man Behind the Curtain", the students learned how volcanoes work.
Later as seen in 1977, the students appeared to be learning about Egyptian hieroglyphics which were seen on the chalkboard. Elsewhere in the room was a periodic table and a sign that said, "DHARMA students make learning fun!" ("Some Like It Hoth")
The classroom had a set practiced routine in the event of an attack on the Barracks by the Hostiles which involved locking the doors and taking cover. The teacher, Olivia, also had quick access to a rifle to defend the children. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
The school had its own DHARMA logo.
A large playground for children of DHARMA Initiative staff existed adjacent to the school. When Ben was young, he and Annie used to play here; it was where she gave him two dolls as a birthday present. Later in 2004, Sayid was held captive here, chained to a swingset for three days. When arriving at the Barracks, Miles noted the playground and asked sarcastically if the Others had a daycare. A young Charlotte also sat on a swing here while Faraday warned her about needing to leave the island. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("The Man Behind the Curtain") ("The Economist")
At the southside of the the Barracks lay a medical clinic and operating theater ostensibly to take care of day-to-day injuries and other health issues for DHARMA Initiative personnel. Amy was brought here to give birth to her son, Ethan. Similarly, young Ben was brought here after being shot by Sayid. The clinic contained basic medical supplies including sterile lancets, painkillers, cotton pads, and swabs - although apparently was not as well stocked as The Staff. ("LaFleur") ("He's Our You") ("Whatever Happened, Happened")
A large building, east of the school, contained a cafeteria and large adjacent kitchen presumably where DHARMA personnel would take most of their meals. Hurley worked here for a time in 1977. ("He's Our You") The kitchen/cafeteria had its own DHARMA logo.
The Motor Pool was a large garage/depot facility at the eastern side of the Barracks where DHARMA's fleet of vans, jeeps, and pickup trucks were housed. Vehicles here could be signed out by DHARMA personnel on an as-needed basis and would be worked on by technicians at the same location. Numerous fuel containers, oil drums, and tires were strewn about. The Motor pool maintained eight vans, four jeeps, and four pickup trucks that could be used around the Island. (Dharma Initiative orientation kit). On pegs next to the sign-out sheet hung 16 keys. A locked gun safe was also kept here, presumably in the event of Hostile incursions. ("LaFleur") ("Some Like It Hoth") ("The Variable") The motor pool had its own DHARMA logo.
Jack, Roger, and Willie (the three members of the janitorial staff in 1977) worked at a location known as "the shed". It was presumably a storage area containing cleaning supplies located somewhere at the Barracks. ("Whatever Happened, Happened")
A septogonal gazebo stood out in the middle of the lawn area. When festivities were in order, they were focused around this pavilion.
During her years with the Others Juliet had her own laboratory, possibly the infirmary, somewhere within the compound. This may have been the lab mentioned by Pierre Chang as his lab at the Barracks.("The Other Woman"), ("Namaste")
Other nearby locations
There were several other locations immediately adjacent to the Barracks:
Harbor and wharf
The harbor was within a short walking distance of the Barracks, and appeared to have been constructed in some sort of small lagoon. A long wharf jutted out into the water, large enough to house a single vessel at a time. This appeared to be the primary dock for submarines coming to and from the Island. The harbor appeared to be inside the sonar fence. ("The Man from Tallahassee") ("One of Us")
On the waterfront nearby was a small boathouse with its own dock. The boathouse was a small cabin used primarily for storage of life jackets, ropes, nets, and other such equipment. Locke used the boathouse to keep Miles prisoner for a short period of time. ("Eggtown")
Directly beneath the Barracks existed a large complex of ancient tunnels with hieroglyphics similar to those found within the Temple. Richard Alpert referred to this area as "the tunnels" and this area was used by the Others to store the hydrogen bomb after 1954. The tunnels original purpose is unknown. It is unclear if the DHARMA Initiative was aware that the Barracks were constructed on top of an even older site. The secret chamber in Ben's house was very likely linked to the tunnels. ("Follow the Leader")
Security perimeter (sonar fence)
The Barracks and harbor were completely surrounded by a hypersonic barrier that could injure or kill anyone who passed through it. The DHARMA Initiative referred to it as a sonar fence. The intensity of the fence could be adjusted and individual sections could be deactivated by typing a code into a keypad on certain pylons.
The DHARMA Initiative orientation film at the Barracks stated that purpose of the fence was to keep out the Island's abundant wildlife, which it did accomplish, although the fence was constructed with the Monster in mind, yet its existence was a matter kept classified. ("Left Behind") Per Richard Alpert, the Others had the means to bypass the barrier, a possible reference to the tunnels.
The Barracks were located on the main island at the base of some hills. In the opening scene of "A Tale of Two Cities", Ben said that Goodwin could make it to the tail crash site within an hour if he hurried, demonstrating that the location was not very far from that portion of the coastline.
The orientation video for the Pearl station instructed DHARMA staff return to the Barracks via the Pala ferry at the end of their shifts. This suggests that the sea route to the Barracks from the Pearl was somehow preferable to the land route.
Ben's radio tower map showed the relative locations of the beach camp, the Pearl, radio tower, and the Barracks, which appeared to be just north of the Pearl. By inference, one can also determine the location of the Flame. However, the map is problematical in that the relative distances between sites do not seem to match up with observed travel in the series. The map also does not properly overlay onto Rousseau's maps.
Based on the mile markers on the bottom of the DHARMA cabling map, the Barracks were roughly one mile across.
- A cluster of six private houses on the western side. One house seemed to be close to the termination for the western tunnel.
- Another cluster of six on the southern side, including the school, the cafeteria, the infirmary, and three private houses. Ben and Juliet lived in this cluster. The easternmost house, possibly Ben's, seemed to be close to the termination point for the eastern tunnel.
- A cluster of five buildings between these and on the northern side of the main road. These included the Welcome Center, the Recreation Room, the Security Office, and two private houses (one of them probably belonging to the head of security). The Security Office seemed to be near the termination for the northwestern tunnel. Jack's house was on the southern side of this cluster.
- A larger lone structure to the east, which was the Motor Pool.
These buildings were arranged in a circular pattern around a central picnic area with a lone Norfolk pine tree and a nearby white gazebo. There were only footpaths (no roads) between the houses.
The DHARMA cabling map details of the Barracks inside the sonar fence were taken from the set design materials. The map reflected the actual layout and buildings of the YMCA camp that the production uses for filming exteriors of the Barracks.
The long distance images of the Barracks seen in "A Tale of Two Cities" were artificially generated and do not match up with the layout of the actual set. This can best seen in examining the differences between the arrangement of the buildings around the gazebo in the close-in shots versus the layout seen in the distance shots. It can be assumed that the layout of the YMCA camp represents a portion of the Barracks, but it is unclear if there are meant to be other buildings beyond the physical layout of the camp.
Considering how many personnel were on the Island, excluding those who lived at certain stations, it would be safe to assume the Barracks were larger than what was shown.
The village had no roads, no telephone or electric poles to explain how the Others could live in their little Utopian community. Initially I scouted for streets and cul-de-sacs with the locations manager Jim Triplett, and then we started talking about how they would live on an island without vehicles, etc. That's when we realized we should look for camping grounds where we could create a world without all the spoils of modernization. The village of the Others was a makeover of a camp on the North Shore of Oahu. We painted the houses, added porches and details, and even an extra story to Ben's House. To make the camp look idyllic, we watered the lawn for weeks before shooting, and even painted some dry patches with environmentally friendly green dye! (Revelations)
The filming location is at the YMCA Camp Erdman in Hawaii - (Source: Lostvirtualtour, The Economist-Enhanced transcript). The Lost crew painted all the houses yellow before filming, and the crew also installed the gazebo. The second story of Ben's house is actually a false front attached to a one-story house.
The following interiors at the Barracks have all been shot at the YMCA Camp Eardman assembly hall. The assembly hall is reconfigured internally with different size partitions to pass for the different locations:
- Recreation room
- Fireplace building
- Main hall
- Before the name of the location was revealed, it was given the names "Otherville", "Othersville", and "Utopiaville" by fans. Further nicknames were "Bennsylvania" and "Losteria Lane".
- The production design notes call it "Othersville" and "Ext. Suburbia" (Season 3 DVD) The producers' nickname for it is "New Otherton". (Season 3 DVD)
- The "New Otherton" name was used onscreen by Sawyer in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1" and "Recon". In "The Incident, Part 1", during the 1970s, he called it "Dharmaville."
- The Barracks were first mentioned in "?", in the Pearl's orientation video.
- The Swan Orientation film made a cryptic mention that the DHARMA Initiative was pursuing research into some form of utopian social order.
- Close inspection of the zoom out from the Barracks in "A Tale of Two Cities" revealed a dove, flying over.
- Ethan Rom was seen underneath Juliet's house, repairing the plumbing. The plumbing that Ethan was working on was typically seen in houses with well water. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
- The pine tree is a Norfolk Island Pine, genus Araucaria heterophylla, fairly common on the Island of Oahu, where the show has many filming locations. These trees were often planted on tropical islands by early sailors to be available for ship masts, and are well adapted to tropical climates.
- The DHARMA Initiative also appeared to have a sizeable cache of dynamite available which apparently was stored somewhere in the vicinity of the Barracks. ("LaFleur")
- The main location of the Barracks is the YMCA camp Erdman on Oahu. Camp Erdman houses the shed, the playground, the gazebo, the DHARMA Initiative sign, and most of the cabins.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Barracks/Theories
- Was the DHARMA Initiative aware of the tunnel system beneath the Barracks?
- When was Ben's house linked to the secret chamber for summoning the Monster?