Outside the box: Dome homes could save lives, builder says

As people in the Bahamas make plans to rebuild, a local man is hoping his own experience of living in a hurricane-resistant dome house can help inspire others to consider doing the same.

For the last 30 years, Mickey Lukens has been living in a geodesic dome house in Avon Park he built himself.

"There's no flat walls like a conventional house. That's why they're twice as strong," Lukens said.

They are strong against hurricanes and can withstand up to 200-mph winds, according to Lukens.

"In the Bahamas, all the roofs are torn off and the houses are gone. In the dome house, there is no roof to tear off," Lukens said.

Hurricane Dorian destroyed thousands of homes in the Bahamas. Lukens is using the devastation as inspiration to share his story and inspire others to consider dome housing.

"I'm so passionate about this. We have an alternative house here. It's not going to appeal to everybody," Lukens continued. "A conventional house compared to my house just has an existence. The dome has a purpose."

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Lukens built his 1,600-square-foot home for roughly $128,000, costing about $80 per square foot. It consists of two bedrooms, a kitchen, and multiple oddly shaped closets. The roof is composed of mostly triangles.

"All the odd shapes you make into pantries or closets or anything else," Lukens said.

It's 40 years of passion, design, and hard work Lukens wants to share with others in hopes of saving money, and most importantly, saving lives.

"It's my passion. I'm not worried about the money. I want to be known as the person who brought that to life and that means everything to me," Lukens added.

According to FEMA, dome houses can be considered safe rooms, which are structures that meet FEMA guidelines and provide "near-absolute protection" during natural disasters like hurricanes.

Lukens hope to travel to the Bahamas and eventually build homes for people in need.