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Dome sweet dome: Would you live in a dome home?

Maria Sonnenberg, For FLORIDA TODAY Published 1:12 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2017 

Rockledge builder American Ingenuity makes kits for dome homes, a quirky alternative to a traditional square- or rectangle-shaped house.

Pay attention to Buckminster Fuller and forget the square or rectangle when building a house, and instead go for a geodesic dome.  To view article, click on Florida Today 8.22.17 Story about Aidomes

The forward-thinking Fuller, responsible for giving the name geodesic to the polyhedral dome, championed the dome as the perfect structure for its strength and efficiency. This ideal building form is being created daily in — drum roll, please — Rockledge, home to American Ingenuity, aka Aidomes, builder of dome home kits that are shipped around the world.

Ai founder Michael Busick launched his company in Brevard in 1976. Instead of wood and shingles, which can rot and tear off, concrete, galvanized and expanded polysterene were Busick’s materials of choice for his domes. He was granted a patent for prefab panels that make construction easier than stick-built and can be easily organized into kits that can be assembled by proficient do-it-yourselfers.

You need not sacrifice space with domes. Interior footage with Aidomes ranges from 172-square-feet mini-domes to 2,992-square-foot residences that share the dome’s inherent durability. The Rockledge company’s domes have been erected in 47 states and 15 foreign countries.

“As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest built by man,” said Glenda Carlin-Busick, vice president and plans coordinator for American Ingenuity. “The partial sphere (that is a dome) is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. Domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.”

Th Ai domes carry a 225 mph and F4 tornado guarantee and are super energy-efficient.

“Our domes have 30 percent less exterior surface than box-shaped houses and have R28 insulation on the prefab panels with no wood to interrupt the insulation,” Busick.

She noted the electric bill for the company’s 3,700-square foot office of two attached domes averages $72 when the place is kept at 74 degrees during the peak of summer.

The houses are solid as a rock, perfect for whatever Florida weather can throw at it. The concrete construction, reinforced with galvanized mesh and fibers, has no rooftop to blow off in high winds.

One of Ai’s domes went through Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage when the rest of the neighborhood was destroyed,” Busick said.

Builder Ray Vince hopes to tap onto the dome’s excellent efficiency in the community of homes he has planned for Titusville.

The Schoonovers built their geodesic home in Canaveral Groves in 1992. Watch the progress of its construction. The house is now for sale as the couple reaches retirement and looks to move out west. Video by Jessica Saggio and Tim Shortt Wochit

“I had originally thought of going with conventional prefab homes until I discovered that Ai was in Rockledge,” Vince said.

Vince hopes to start his project, aimed to further energize Titusville’s housing market, with a two bedroom/one bath 27-foot dome home that is linked to a 12-foot dome hosting solar panel battery storage.

Throwback:  Unusual homes in Brevard: Dome home

“It will be a super dome home,” said Vince, who is searching for a large parcel of land to build a community of dome homes in North Brevard.

With a price tag of around $160,000, Vince’s dome home is affordable, secure and efficient housing that won’t cost much to maintain.

“He wants to build the dome to be as close to off the grid as possible,” Busick said.

Although structurally very different than traditional houses, domes nevertheless are very cozy inside and are naturals for the open floor plan favored by today’s homeowners.

“Geodesic dome construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable building that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials,” Busick said. “The building concept of a dome expands the range of simple and economic building options.”

Malcolm and Eva Jewell live in an Aidome on Pineapple Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District. The Jewells were not looking for a dome particularly, but the house’s location and its river views sealed the deal. The energy efficiency and strength were just nice bonuses.

More:  This dome home’s for sale. Interested?

“I had known about dome houses and I knew they were very good with hurricanes and wind,” Malcolm Jewell said.

The house is a 34-foot diameter two bedroom/two bath Aidome with 1,171 square feet on two levels. It connected to a 22-foot diameter dome that serves as a one-car garage dome with attic storage.

Settling into dome living for Jewell was a cinch.

“It was surprisingly easy,” she said. “The furniture fits very well.”

About the only drawback in dome living for Jewell is hanging pictures on the outside walls, since their concrete construction makes driving nails something of a bear.

With substantial increases in the cost of construction and energy, dome kits provide significant cost-savings, so expect more to pop up along the Space Coast.

“In the past decade, many people have discovered that the dome design offers a viable solution,” Busick said.

It looks cool, too.

For more on domes, visit aidomes.com.

 

Jamaica 45ft & 34ft Aidomes in Runaway Bay.

Robert Stephens purchased the two Aidomes after the building kits were assembled.  He and his crew beautifully finished the exterior and interior.  The domes will be presented for short term vacation rental and small functions such as intimate weddings with max 80 guests.  To view their website explaining how to rent the dome, click on Runaway Bay Aidomes.

The floor plan layouts below were the original design; however the plans have been modified.   A 45′ dome can be designed with three to four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  A 34′ dome can be a garage dome or a two bedroom two bath home.

The Dome building kits are shipped in containers from American Ingenuity’s factory in Rockledge Florida.  One 34′ dome can fit in one 40′ high cube container. One 45′ kit can fit in one 45′ high cube container and one 20′ container.  To obtain shipping quotes, email the receiving port name and Ai will contact a freight forwarder and obtain a shipping quote.  Email address is GlendaB.aidomes@gmail.com

At no cost to you, if you give your property address and building department name,  Ai will call the building department, email them a sample set of plans and find out what is required for them to issue a building permit on the dome.

PDF for Downloading & Printing

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser

Florida Keys elevated 45’Aidome built on concrete platform, concrete columns, concrete decks and exterior concrete stairs with above ground basement. Due to increased labor costs & material costs in the Keys and the all concrete foundation with auguered footings, this foundation cost around $150,000 to install.   For a less costly foundation, Ai can design wood pilings, pressure treated wood platform, wood decks and exterior wood stairs.

The 45′ dome has two floors. The first floor of 1,461 sq.ft.contains two bedrooms and two baths. The master bedroom and bath and fourth bedroom with its private bath are on the second floor of 702 sq.ft. resulting in the dome having 2,363 sq.ft. The above ground basement is 984 sq.ft and contains spiral stairs to dome, parking and storage area.

Because of the coquina rock, the footers had to be auguered. Due to water surge the dome is elevated.

Wood House burns in California Fire – home owner rebuilds with Ai concrete dome home kit.

The California Silver fire started on August 12, 2013 in southern California just south of Banning. By the time firefighters had contained the blaze, it had burned about 20,000 acres, forced thousands to evacuate their homes, injured eight people, and destroyed 46 structures.

One of the homes destroyed was a wood dome owned by the Berres’s. Because they loved the advantages of living in a dome home, strength, energy efficiency, etc. they chose to rebuild another dome; but this time instead of a wood dome with shingles they chose to rebuild utilizing an American Ingenuity dome building kit because its exterior is noncombustible steel reinforced concrete.

Below the photo gallery of the Berres dome under construction is an image of the burn scar left from the Silver fire and a YouTube video of the fire.

Photo Gallery of Berres 48′ Concrete Dome Kit Under Assembly

(Click the left/right arrows to change pics)

 Silver Fire Area

silverfire_oli_2013222Dark red color shows the burn scar when the California Silver Fire of 2013 burned about 20,000 acres,

forced thousands to evacuate their homes, injured eight people and destroyed 46 structures. 

On August 10, 2013, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this false-color image of the burn scar left by the Silver fire, which burned in southern California, just south of Banning.

The image was made with a combination of shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light collected by OLI. Shortwave infrared is between near infrared (seen in infrared photography) and thermal infrared light (used by temperature sensors) on the electromagnetic spectrum. Shortwave infrared light is reflected by some surfaces (like bare soil), and emitted by very hot objects (lava or fires). Burned areas appear dark red. The lighter red area in the upper left of the image is a burn scar from a previous fire. Dark green areas are forests; light green areas are grasslands, golf courses, or yards.

Over the last decades, California fires had charred an average 5.7 million acres by August 22, according to statistics published by the National Interagency Fire Center.