Company Profile | AiDomes
  • Xtreme Houses by Courtenay Smith & Sean Topham. Prestel Verlag offices are in Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2002

  •  NEWSPAPER COVERAGE ON DOMES

    In the past such newspapers as Florida Today, Detroit News, New York Times, Florida Keys Sunday, Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen Times), International Herald Tribune in Hong Kong have run articles on American Ingenuity Domes.  

     

    NEW YORK TIMES

    The Dome Gains Weight and Settles Down

    Mr. NELKIN decided in the 10th grade that he would someday live in a geodesic dome, after seeing a picture of one in a science book. “It looked like something out of ‘Star Wars,’ ” Mr. Nelkin said. “I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and I said to myself, ‘When I grow up I’m going to build one of those.’ ”

    Enlarge This Image

    Jeff Topping for The New York Times

    SUPERSIZE Houses like John and Cindy Schofield’s in Arizona are defying the countercultural image of the dome.

    Multimedia

    The Geodesic Dome

    The Geodesic Dome

    In 2003 he finally did. Now Mr. Nelkin, 45, an Internet marketer, and his wife live in a house made of two adjoining domes in New York.

    The pale gray hemispheres stand out like twin spaceships on a tree-lined street where all the other houses have pitched roofs. But inside, the house looks unexpectedly terrestrial, with overstuffed couches, hardwood floors and rustic fireplaces much like those of its neighbors.

    The Nelkins are among a growing group of Americans who are building dream homes in the shape of geodesic domes, once a symbol of youthful rebellion but now one of aspiration for aging baby boomers.

    Hemispheres are sprouting up among the mock Tudors and colonials of upscale neighborhoods across the country, from Veneta, Ore., where a company called Oregon Dome is building a development of 2,000-square-foot spec domes on suburban lots for around $200,000 each. Like tofu and yoga, the dome has evolved from countercultural funkiness to middle-class respectability.

    First popularized in the 1950s by the designer and inventor Buckminster Fuller, who died in 1983, geodesic domes have long been appreciated by environmentalists for their energy efficiency and the way they provide the maximum amount of space with a minimum of material. In the 1960s and ’70s, hippies built them in the wilderness, painting them in psychedelic patchworks; their rounded contours were seen as a retort to all things square or right-angled in Western society.

    The domes of the Flower Power era were rarely more than a standard 24 feet in diameter and cost less than $1,000 to build, according to Jay Baldwin, an early dome builder and dweller. But many new domes are sprawling mansions of more than 10,000 square feet, built on budgets of a million dollars or more.

    “The domes have gotten bigger and more expensive as people’s incomes expanded,” said Dennis Johnson, who founded Natural Spaces Domes, a dome building company in North Branch, Minn., in 1978. In the past decade his clients have quadrupled in number, to about 200 a year.

    Like most modern homeowners, dome owners want plenty of space.

    “They want another bedroom,” said Robert Singer, the president of Timberline Geodesics, a dome manufacturer in Berkeley, Calif. “They want the home office, they want the entertainment room, they want the extra space in the basement, they want the large custom kitchen.”

    Two years ago, Mr. Singer said, his factory needed to run only seven months a year to meet the demand. Now it operates full time to produce more than 50 houses annually, and he still can’t fill all the orders.

    Many people are also requesting surprisingly conventional architectural accessories: dormer windows, cedar shingles, carriage lamps, gambrel-roofed entryways.

    They want to stand out from the pack, it seems, but not too much; they want to reclaim their youth, but aren’t willing to sacrifice the comforts of middle age. (Mr. Nelkin put a cupola on top of his dome, because, he said, it made the place look “more homey” and less like the kind of basic unembellished dome “you might see in an oil refinery.”)

    Tina Gerard and Wes Dehnke, who own a 45-foot-diameter dome in River Falls, Wis., love its shape and the triangular framing inside. But when they were planning it they thought the outside looked too naked.

    Not anymore.  “The castle turrets give the dome a whole other dimension,” Ms. Gerard said.


     THE FLORIDA KEYS SUNDAY

    8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2

    The Keys Sunday Newspaper 

    By STEVE SANOSKI

    Imagine a home designed so efficiently it saves upwards of 70 percent on monthly utility bills, and built with materials strong enough to withstand a direct hit from a major hurricane. 

    What would such a house look like? Sort of like a half of an egg. But more specifically, a home with those capabilities would have to be a geodesic dome. 

    “It’s the most simplified way to build a house that we know of,” said Glenda Busick, coowner of dome home manufacturer American Ingenuity. “It’s a very logical option for people living on the coast.” 

    Rockledge, Florida-based American Ingenuity has been manufacturing dome home kits since 1976. Since then they’ve shipped their kits to 46 states – including Alaska and Hawaii – as well the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and even Israel. 

    The dome’s shape gets the credit for the large savings on energy expenses, said Busick. Dome houses have about half the total surface area as a conventional home, meaning there’s less space for hot or cold air to escape.

    “Nationwide, that’s the number one reason people buy our home kits,” she said. “It’s common for our customers to save 50 to 70 percent on their heating and cooling costs due to the thick insulated panels we use and the natural shape of the dome.”

    The number one reason Floridians purchase American Ingenuity dome home kits is the structure’s incredible resistance to hurricanes, said Busick.

    “We have customers in Miami who survived a direct hit from (category 5) Hurricane Andrew,” she said. “We guarantee all of our homes against 225 mph winds and F4 Tornadoes.” 

    A geodesic dome is created out of a network of struts Shape offers energy savings, hurricane resistance. Dome homes make comeback arranged on great circles (geodesics) on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that have great rigidity but they also distribute the stress across the entire structure. 

    According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, it is the only man-made structure that gets proportionally stronger as it increases in size. When completed to form a full sphere, it is known as a geodesic sphere. 

    Though not invented by him, the dome was popularized by R. Buckminster Fuller who named the dome “geodesic.” 

    The standard dome home design will resist 150 mph winds and 50-pound snow loads.  American Ingenuity dome houses get their strength from two sources: the aerodynamic design of the dome and the patented wall panel design used on all kit homes. 

    The sandwich panel is polystyrene insulation at the core, covered by steel mesh and reinforced with concrete seams. 

    The prefabricated panel was developed and patented by American Ingenuity founder, Michael Busick, in 1984.

    However, that price is only for the dome shell kit, and does not include windows, doors or any furnishings, such as flooring, kitchen cabinets, lighting and bathroom fixtures. 

    Additional costs can also be associated with assembling the house kit, which about half the American Ingenuity customers do themselves. “A lot of people see how inexpensive the kit is and assume the whole house when completed will be inexpensive,” Busick said. “That’s not true. A finished dome will cost about the same as a conventional home, but what you end up with is much more than a conventional home.” 

    The popularity of geodesic dome houses is on the rise in Florida and throughout the county, said Busick. 

    “Five years ago we might sell 25 dome homes a year,” she said. “Now we’re selling 60 to 70 kits a year, and it just continues to grow.” 

    The Florida Keys is home to one dome currently, located in Key Largo, and it happens to be up for sale. The asking price for the 40’, two-story, three bedroom dome home on oceanfront property is just below $2.2 million. 

    For more information about American Ingenuity dome home kits, including full listing details on the Key Largo home for sale, visit www.aidomes.com.

     

    • A cover story in Popular Science in March 1987

    • Builder Dealer Magazine in November 1987

    • Ambassador Magazine for Trans World Airlines in May 1990

    • American Survival Guide magazine in January 1991 and September 1995

    • Aberdeen’s Concrete Construction magazine in March 1996

    • Home Power magazine in June/July 1998

    TV

    1)    Inside Edition:  On September 11, 1998, Inside Edition, a syndicated TV show led off with a segment on our geodesic domes.  The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of our domes and how they withstand hurricane forces.  The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami and interviewed the owners of a dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew.  Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  They then drove up to our corporate offices.  The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the component panels being made in the factory.  The next stop was to view domes under construction in Melbourne, a 34′ home linked to a 22′ garage.  Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

        The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes ability to withstand hurricane force winds.  Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis.  The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds.  Our dome stood rock solid.  In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times.  A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

        A completed dome home was the next stop.  After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg.  While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death.  They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

        About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office.  They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us.  For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own.  One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

    2)    Film Garden Entertainment of California put together a television program for Home and Garden TV and wanted to include our geodesic dome.  A TV crew spent a day filming our office and manufacturing facility along with two local dome residences.  They also interviewed Michael and Glenda for many hours about the dome concept, manufacturing and assembly of our domes.  The program Insiders List aired in August 2004.  The theme of the program was the top 10 innovative prefab homes throughout the world.  It ranged from “Wee Houses” in the Midwest that were 18′ x 24′ x 10′ to million dollar prefab penthouse modules placed on purchased rooftop spaces in London.  American Ingenuity was privileged to be ranked number 9 on the list.

    This article discusses some of the awards & recognition
    American Ingenuity Concrete Domes have received.
    40' dome on right linked to 30' dome.

    40′ concrete dome on right linked to 30′ dome.  Featured on front cover of Popular Science Magazine in 1987.  Dome also won award for “Most Energy Efficient Residence” in southeastern USA

     

    34' dome on left linked to 45' dome.

    34′ dome on left linked to 45′ dome.  American Ingenuity Office domes have been featured on TV & in newspaper articles.

     

    27' garage dome with garage door up.....can park two medium size vehicles.

    27′ garage dome with garage door up…..can park two medium size vehicles. These domes were awarded EPA’s Energy Star ranking.

    Through the years, American Ingenuity Domes have been featured in many magazine articles, books, newspaper articles and television programs.

    Television Coverage:

    1)    Inside Edition:  On September 11, 1998, Inside Edition, a syndicated TV show led off with a segment on our geodesic domes.  The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of our domes and how they withstand hurricane forces.  The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami and interviewed the owners of a dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew.  Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  They then drove up to our corporate offices.  The segment went on to show our five dome complex including  component panels being made in the factory.  The next stop was to view domes under construction in Melbourne, a 34′ home linked to a 22′ garage.  Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

    The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes ability to withstand hurricane force winds.  Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis.  The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds.  Our dome stood rock solid.  In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times.  A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

    A completed dome home was the next stop.  After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg.  While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death.  They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

    About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office.  They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us.  For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own.  One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

    2)    Film Garden Entertainment of California put together a television program for Home and Garden TV and wanted to include our geodesic dome.  A TV crew spent a day filming our office and manufacturing facility along with two local dome residences.  They also interviewed Michael and Glenda for many hours about the dome concept, manufacturing and assembly of our domes.  The program Insiders List aired in August 2004.  The theme of the program was the top 10 innovative prefab homes throughout the world.  It ranged from “Wee Houses” in the Midwest that were 18′ x 24′ x 10′ to million dollar prefab penthouse modules placed on purchased rooftop spaces in London.  American Ingenuity was privileged to be ranked number 9 on the list.

    Magazine coverage:
    • A cover story in Popular Science in March 1987
    • Builder Dealer Magazine in November 1987
    • Ambassador Magazine for Trans World Airlines in May 1990
    • American Survival Guide magazine in January 1991 and September 1995
    • Aberdeen’s Concrete Construction magazine in March 1996
    • Home Power magazine in June/July 1998

    Book coverage:
    • Future Stuff
    • Xtreme Houses by Courtenay Smith & Sean Topham. Prestel Verlag offices are in Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2002

    Newspaper Coverage: (to read some of these articles click on Newspaper)
    • Numerous articles written by syndicated columnist James Dulley
    • Florida Today
    • Detroit News
    • Asheville Citizen Times January 19, 2006 (North Carolina)
    • International Herald Tribune December 10-11, 2005 (Hong Kong)
    • The New York Times January 11, 2007
    • The Florida Keys Sunday January 28, 2007
    • Jamaica-Gleaner August 26, 2007

     

    As a leader in the prefab building kit industry, American Ingenuity’s mission statement is to continue manufacturing prefab concrete dome building kits that are affordable, strong and energy efficient by continually:

    • Manufacturing the Ai prefabricated panels utilizing the latest cutting edge materials.
    • Offering Names of Independent Kit Assembly Consultants to supervise the assembly of the concrete dome kit.

    Exterior Office lots of green

    Above is photo of Ai’s dome offices – 45′ dome linked to 34′ dome with 3,700 sq.ft.  The office domes can be cooled for less than $55 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  To view office electric bills, click on Super Energy Efficient.  Never fear if you live up north, the Ai dome is even easier to heat than to cool.  To cool, the air conditioner has to overcome heat generated by computers, refrigerator, clothes dryer, dish washer, sun light, etc.  To heat the heat generated is utilized.  The AC or furnace will be one third smaller than would have been needed for the same square footage conventional house.

    Exterior factory dome 60 P4250117

    American Ingenuity manufactures the prefabricated component panels for the concrete dome building kits within three domes.  60′ in diameter dome pictured above and 48′ dome and 45′ dome shown below.

    Exterior factory domes P4250122

    American Ingenuity’s Factory in Rockledge Florida.
    The dome on the far right is a 48′ dome which was built in 1983.
    It is the first dome built from American Ingenuity’s patented component panel
    .

    To learn about South Carolina Dome that won EPA’s Energy Star, click on Energy Star.

    To learn more about super-strength, click on Advantage Summary.

    To view Ai’s engineering statement, click on Engineering.

    The Ai dome kit can be a Do It Yourself Project, to learn more click on Owner Builder.

    To learn more about the finished price of an Ai Dome, click on Finished.

    To learn more about Ai’s building kit assembly, click on Kit Assembly.

    To learn more about Kit Assembly Consultants, click on Assembly Consultant.

    To learn more about super-energy efficiency, click on Energy FAQ.

     

    American Ingenuity – 8777 Holiday Springs Rd – Rockledge Florida 32955

    Phone 321-639-8777 – Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time

    Email: GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com

     AMERICAN INGENUITY’S AI’S PHILOSOPHY

    One of the main reasons our company has been in business over 39 years and is very reputable, is that we try to treat all our customers the same. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. We believe that each person should pay for only what they need. As a result, our dome kit’s pricing is usually one third to one half less than other housing kits.   To learn more click on Finished Cost.  To view sale pricing on our Tiny Home Kits, click on Tiny Concrete Kits. To view Ai’s current kit discount, click on discount.

    • Each person who wants to research our concrete dome building kit further can do so by printing out information from our web site or purchasing the Planning Kit with a DVD.  To view the DVD for free click on DVD.  To order literature, please call our office at 321-639-8777.  If we gave out a Planning Kit and video to 100-200 people a month, that cost would be paid by the Building Kit client.
    • Plus some of our clients do not need Engineer Sealed Building Plans or an Energy Report  in order to obtain a building permit. As a result the engineer seal and the energy report are separate costs.  To learn more click on Engineer Sealed Plans.

    There is more than one reason why Ai has set up our business this way.

    The first reason is: American Ingenuity has decided that our objective is to offer highly energy efficient homes at the lowest possible price. Ai operates like a “Cash and Carry Business”. To do this, Ai cannot burden the cost of our business with the expenses resulting from trying to collect bills from people who do not pay.

    A second reason that Ai is like a “Cash and Carry Business” is that anyone can pick up their building kit at our Rockledge Florida Plant with the correct size semi-truck and straps.  Of course Ai will load the kit on a semi-truck of your choosing or Ai can coordinate the shipping. The trucks that transport the kits carry cargo insurance.

    A third reason: it is more practical for a buyer to check the credibility and financial history of a business than vice a versa.

    American Ingenuity is also looking for ways you as an individual can check our financial responsibility without incurring a cost. We have an excellent rating with Dunn & Bradstreet. They will provide that information to subscribers like lending institutions, businesses, etc. at no cost but they do charge individuals and nonsubscribers to access this information. Our Dunn & Bradstreet number is 07-727-8844, our rating is 2A1. Their number is 800-234-3867.

    The following article covers Geodesic Dome History.  Since ancient times scientists and astronomers endeavored to understand our starry night skies and create instruments to demonstrate their Charts of the Heavens.

    In 1919, Dr. Walter Bauersfeld of the Carl Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany completed construction of a hemispheric dome as a replica of the sky. He cut the vertices of highly subdivided icosahedrons in such a way that the new surfaces consisted of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons arranged on great circles. Projectors were arranged in the center of the dome to produce 32 star fields on the dome shell.

    When the complex skeleton of 3,480 struts, accurate in length to 2/1.000 of an inch was complete, Bauersfeld engaged the Dyckerhoff and Wydman Company, a leader in Ferro-cement to coat the dome sphere with several thin layers of cement to form a smooth surface which was then coated with white paint.

    Basing the design on the ratio of the thickness of an egg shell to its diameter, Bauersfeld built the world’s first lightweight thin shell concrete dome.  He also produced the first dome comprised of geometric shapes which are now referred to as a geodesic dome.

    Buckminster Fuller advanced the dome concept more than anyone and is known for giving the name “geodesic” to this type of polyhedral dome.

    In 1976, Michael Busick, the founder of American Ingenuity, applied the polyhedral “geodesic” construction principal, in combination with the thin shell reinforced concrete technique and the use of expanded bead polystyrene (EPS) to advance the geodesic dome design even further.  For the first time a concrete dome could be built economically from a kit of component panels.  The design also exceeds all conventional housing in strength, energy efficiency and durability.

    Mr. Busick’s design received a US patent in 1986. His design was a cover story in Popular Science magazine and has since received three NHBA Aurora Awards for energy efficiency, including the Aurora Grand Award and a Design Competition Award by Builder/Dealer Magazine,

    Today, over eight hundred dome building kits have been shipped into 47 USA states and thirteen foreign areas.  Dome kits have been shipped from Florida to California ($6,400 shipping cost), to Tasmania by Australia (shipping cost $18,000) to Trinidad ($4,300 shipping cost). Why would a home owner pay these shipping costs?   Because they cannot build a home in their state or country that has the marvelous advantages of American Ingenuity domes…..extremely low energy costs for their home, super-strength 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty, noncombustible concrete exterior and experiencing the indescribable feeling of safety inside their dome.

    In July of last year, the US Postal Service issued a commenorative postage stamp bearing a painting of Buckminster Fuller.  This painting originally appeared on the cover of Time Magazine January 1964 edition.

    “Mr. Fuller reminds us all that America is a land of pioneers, haven for innovative thinking and the free expression of ideas.”  President Ronald Regan.

    For more information visit Buckminster Fuller Institute website:  www.bfi.org

    The following contains info about Ai Building Kit Summary

    Top five Cupola Panels installed after concrete beam and concrete legs poured. (top of cupola consists of the five top dome panels lifted up to set on concrete legs.)

    Fourth row of Prefab Panels being assembled on 34′ dome.  45′ dome in back ground.

    To view a photo gallery of photos showing the Dome Kit Assembly Process, view Dome Kit Assembly. The dome kit can be assembled by owner builders or hire a contractor. Either the home owner or the contractor can hire the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the kit assembly.

    The view sale pricing on American Ingenuity dome kits and building plans, view Sale.

    Housing technology has changed very little since framing replaced the log cabin. Modifications that were made to improve a concrete home or future home also increased its cost. We applied some American Ingenuity to the geodesic dome home, designed an all new component building system utilizing advanced kit home construction technology and developed a home plan without increasing the kit home’s prices.

    American Ingenuity’s concrete dome kit includes all the triangular and riser panels needed for the dome shell and one entryway. The first floor of the 30′ thru 48′ dome homes can have up to five entryways. The second floor of the 36′ thru 48′ can have up to five single window or door dormers. As a result each floor plan varies as to the number and location of entryways and dormers. Underneath the entryway or dormer “eye brow” you or your contractor builds a conventional 2×4 framed wall and installs your locally purchased windows and doors.

    Because we do not know which stock floor plan you will select, Ai does not know the type or quantity of entryways or dormers that you will need. View  Building Options to learn more about entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc. Once you determine the floor plan, Ai can provide the Building Kit with Option Pricing.

    You can view and print out Ai’s stock plans for each of the ten dome kit sizes, by clicking on Stock Plans

    Houses and garages are built from the Dome Building Kits. The dome homes are available in ten sizes from one bedroom/one bath to four or five bedroom/four baths. The garage domes are typically one car or two car. In the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet are garage dome plans. The dome homes are built on conventional concrete slabs or raised wood floors. If needed, the dome can be built on a basement or pilings and a platform. American Ingenuity does not manufacture a basement wall kit, but does design the basement plans.  To learn about possible foundations, view Foundations.

    The regular pricing for the Dome Shell Kit which includes one entryway ranges from $21,300 to $55,915 depending on your square footage needs. View Pricing for a complete listing of kit sizes and regular pricing.

    Wherever an “opening” is left for doors and windows, Ai does not ship triangles or riser panels. The entryway and dormer panels “eye brows” are therefore structural and are required to maintain the dome’s integrity. The 2×4 or 2×6 wall that is build under the entryways or dormers is built to frame in your locally purchased doors and windows..

    The component panel for the 15′ thru 48′ domes includes seven inch thick R-28 insulation. On the exterior of the insulation is ¾” thick fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and on the interior of the insulation is 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific wall board. Onsite the kit is assembled one row at a time, by concreting the entryways, dormers, cupola, link and seams between the panels. Do not concrete over the entire dome. The concrete on the panels does not need to be thick because the seam concrete averages two inches.

    Once all the panel seams and entryways, dormers, etc. are concreted, the temporary wooden rib system is removed. The dome shell is self supporting. No interior walls are needed to support the shell. However, normally there is a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. So those interior walls are used to support part of the second floor. The exact locations of the suspension rods is noted on the shell geometry sheet in the Building Plans. The suspension rods and top and bottom plates can be purchased from American Ingenuity.  We use the AutoCAD program to design and calculate the load on the second floor. So just let us know if you will have an Aquarian, water bed, library, exercise room, etc. on the second floor and Ai can calculate the load accordingly. The average load calculated is 55 lbs. per square foot.

    The component panels do not come with any paint on them. Ai does not add any color to the concrete. The concrete shell is painted after the entire kit is assembled. The paint should include a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint. The dome can be painted any color, tan, green, blue, etc. preferably a light to medium color to reflect the sunlight. The dome exterior is repainted every four to six years depending upon your area’s pollution and UV light. If you rub your hand over the paint and get any “chalk” on your hand, that is when the dome should be repainted. As needed remove algae with a mixture of chlorine and water or pressure washing.

    Ai’s dome building kit does not include doors and windows. There is such a variety and varying price points,Ai  leaves the selection of the doors and windows up to each client to purchase locally. The floor plan you select will determine how many entryways or dormers you will have. Within the entryways and dormers {eye brows}, your framing subcontractor installs a 2×4 or 2×6 wall to frame in what ever standard doors or windows that were purchased locally.

    No interior items are included in the building kit other than the shell wall drywall. Ai believes you should not pay shipping on items you can purchase locally such as plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc. To learn about the panel composition, view Component Panel.

    Dome Finished Costs: The finished costs on the domes depends so much on where you live, what the labor costs are in your area and what price points you select for your windows, doors, cabinetry, flooring, lighting fixtures, etc. You can ask at your local hardware store or ask a local contractor what the finished price per square foot is running for a conventional house in the neighborhood you plan to build in. That is approximately what it will cost to finish the domes (if you do no labor yourselves), because everything in the interior is standard whether it is a conventional house or dome home….plumbing, electrical, lighting fixtures, bathroom fixtures, flooring, kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, etc. are all the same. Basically you end up with a super-energy efficient, super-strong home for about the same price as a conventional house. To learn more, view Finished Cost.

    Items in the Dome Shell Kit include: Triangular Panels, 4′ Riser Wall Panels, panels for one Entryway, Galvanized Steel Mesh, Concrete Fibers, Two Concrete Admixtures, Reinforcing galvanized cable, Concrete Bonding Agent, Connecting C-Rings, C-Ring Pliers and Assembly Manual. To learn more, view Kit Contents.  To learn what is not in the Dome Kit, view Items not included in the Kit

    Depending upon your floor plan selection there will be various building options. The Options include: Additional Entryway Panels (standard, high profile, garage), Window Dormer Panels, Door Dormer Panels, Cupola Panels and Link Panels. view Building Options to learn more.

    This article covers Ai’s Dome History.

    Busicks 8' doors Office DogsMichael & Glenda Busick w’ families’ pets

    Brief history of American Ingenuity Domes

    The founder of American Ingenuity (Ai) was Michael Busick, an engineer, who was born and raised in North Little Rock, Arkansas graduating from University of Arkansas.  Ai began in 1974 as an electronics manufacturing firm located in Miami, Florida. Its products at that time included a slow acting lamp dimmer and solid state voltage regulator for motorcycles.

    In 1976 American Ingenuity moved to Melbourne, Florida. After two years of design research, the first American Ingenuity dome was built in 1976 to house Michael’s electronics business.

    Q: Why did Mr. Busick decide on the dome shape for his dome?  What are the advantages of domes?
    A: The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

    Domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg.

    During the past decade the home buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome home design offers a viable solution.

    As a residential building concept, geodesic dome home construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable home that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome home expands the range of simple and economic housing options.

    Manufactured dome homes are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method provides for a free span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.

    As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

    One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your home. It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light and open space to those who choose to build and live in their own dome.

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    During the design of the first American Ingenuity, Michael employed the talents of the Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, Engineering students and an architectural professor from the University of Miami to design the very first expanded  polystyrene (E.P.S.) and concrete geodesic dome.  This professor had done preliminary designs for a concrete and steel dome, but he had never constructed a concrete and steel  dome.  The dome went by the name of  “Key Dome”.  American Ingenuity built the first E.P.S., steel and concrete dome.

    Ai’s first dome, which was 50′ in diameter, became the office/model of American Ingenuity and by American Ingenuity’s current standards was a primitive design. The dome was constructed by:

    • Erecting and propping up the E.P.S. panels
    • Stretching steel mesh over the E.P.S.
    • Spraying concrete over the entire exterior
    • Troweling the concrete smooth
    • Applying the interior shell finish of plaster to the E.P.S.

    This first American Ingenuity dome had no riser walls, no preformed entryways , no  dormers and was not an owner/builder design.

    Busick’s dome was located next to US Highway 1 in Melbourne, Florida. People would stop in and ask him to build them domes like his. Thus started his dome business.

    In the early years, American Ingenuity was happy to sell one building kit a year. Kits were shipped in the early years into North Carolina and Texas; however, Florida remained the primary location for building.  With each one built, Michael gained valuable information to provide improvements for the next.  Every time a dome was built using the above method, Michael knew there had to be a better way….which resulted in the invention of Ai’s prefabricated component panel.

    Ai has sold over 800 dome kits in 47 U.S.A. States and fourteen foreign areas.

    In 1980, American Ingenuity was incorporated in the state of Florida.

    By 1983, a major improvement in the building method was developed by Michael which provided for the prefabrication of building panels. In 1983 American Ingenuity manufactured and built its first dome (a 48′ in diameter dome) utilizing its prefabricated sandwich panel.  To learn more about the component panel composition click on Panel Composition.

    After this concept had been tested and implemented, Busick applied for and received a U.S. patent. This improved building system was labeled “Generation II”. It resulted in a dome design which reduced the time and cost of construction as well as improved the quality of the finished dome.

    Also in 1983 Michael married Glenda who besides assisting in the day to day operations of the company, played a major roll in the financial backing for the research and development of the American Ingenuity dome concept. She handled the purchasing and selling of integrated memory chips to office equipment companies through out the United States to fund the component panel’s design.  Glenda was born and raised in Missouri. Even though she graduated with a Biology Degree from Southwest Missouri State, she loves dome sales and coordinating dome building floor plan design with the dome buyer, engineers and American Ingenuity’s Computer Aided Drafting Department.

    Construction for American Ingenuity’s second model home (40′ and 30′ garage) began in 1984 using the prefabricated panels.  Sheet rock was adhered to the inside of the polystyrene insulation. But during the building kit assembly the sheet rock naturally got wet. Because the sheet rock would crumble and mold when wet, American Ingenuity decided to stop shipping the prefabricated panels with conventional sheet rock. Back then after the dome kit was assembled, the dome owner or subcontractor would either adhere sheet rock or trowel plaster or stucco directly to the polystyrene insulation….a labor intensive and expensive project.

    Also during this time, Michael designed the first geodesic dome second floor door dormer which opened onto the top of a standard entryway to produce a second floor balcony. Another first of its kind.

    The energy rating for American Ingenuity’s second model home, as determined by the Florida Model Energy Code calculations, was the lowest known with a rating of -14. 

    To learn more about efficiency click on Energy FAQ.  To view info on South Carolina dome that earned EPA’s Energy Star click on Energy Star.

    The Model Dome in Melbourne Florida was completed in 1985 and a few months later was entered in the 1986 Aurora Awards competition. In May of 1986, Ai. was notified that the American Ingenuity Model had won the award for the Most Energy Efficient Residences as judged by the Southeast Builders Conference, a division of the National Home Builders Association. In August of that same year, the model also won the Grand Award for all energy efficient categories…beating out a passive solar home designed for one of Florida’s utility companies, Florida Power and Light.

    In 1986 a United States patent was granted for the prefabricated component panel consisting of polystyrene and galvanized steel reinforced concrete. 

    After receiving the patent and winning of the Aurora Awards, articles were written about the American Ingenuity Dome in such newspapers as Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel, in the magazines Progressive Builder, Florida Trend and was a feature cover story in the March 1987 issue of Popular Science.

    As a result American Ingenuity’s factory needed to be expanded to keep up with the demand for its dome building kits. Additions to Ai’s first 48′ factory dome were a 45′ dome in 1986 and a 60′ dome in 1991.

    Ai broke ground for its new dome offices (45′ and 34′) in 1993. The office domes won the Southeast Builders Conference 1994 Aurora Merit Award for Energy Efficiency for a Commercial Project.

    In 1998, Michael designed the 22′ and 27′ garage domes using 2 frequency geometry. This geometry differs from American Ingenuity’s residential domes in that the 22′ and 27′ domes utilize fewer but larger panels. By having larger panels Ai can create a wider opening that is needed for a garage door. Previously a 34’ dome was needed to pull two cars in side by side. Now Ai’s clients can have a two-car garage in a 27’ dome, which is more cost effective. The 22’ dome provides an economical one car garage. Either of these can be connected to another dome or built independently from the house.

    Typically, American Ingenuity’s clients were owner builders but around 2000, Ai had individuals inquire about wanting a working consultant to supervise their concrete workers or their contractor’s workers during the dome kit assembly. American Ingenuity can now connect clients with independent consultants who will travel to their job site. The consultant supervises the assembly of the dome kit which makes the assembly go faster and reduces costs.  Click on Kit Assembly Consultant to learn more.

    In 2003, the staff at American Ingenuity researched materials to cover the interior of the rigid expanded polystyrene insulation. Ai’s staff settled on Georgia Pacific’s 1/4″ Dens-Deck roofing board which was adhered to the E.P.S. with cement and perlite. The Dens-Deck employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is silicon treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties. It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes. Dens-Deck roof board is a patented nonstructural glass mat-faced, noncombustible, water-resistant, treated gypsum core panel. It is water resistant, so if your kit is rained on during construction, it will not be damaged. When allowed to dry out, the gypsum will return to its original state. Due to code changes in November 2013, the wallboard has been upgraded to Georgia Pacific’s 1/2″ DensArmor Plus gypsum. Same moisture resistant/mold resistant gypsum as Dens-Deck just thicker and is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive.

    Not only has American Ingenuity’s building kits improved, but American Ingenuity’s building plans have progressed from simple hand drawings to detailed computer designed blueprints. Ai’s once nonexistent Assembly Manual has grown to over 100 informative pages. Ai was the first to offer utility dome kits. American Ingenuity has progressed from a prototype structure to a home that has received a design competition award, three energy awards and numerous articles in national magazines and other media.  To view layouts for each size dome, click on Stock Plans.

    In 2015 American Ingenuity designed 15′ and 18′ dome kits for the Tiny Home Market for those wanting to have a smaller home foot print.

    Ai’s goal in 1976 was to develop a simplified building kit which when assembled produced an affordable, super-strong, super – energy efficient home.  American Ingenuity’s goals now are: 1) to continue that goal; 2) provide prefab home kits for forward thinking home owners who are willing to think outside the box;  and 3) offer independent kit assembly specialists to supervise the dome kit assembly.