45' dome second floor railing.

45′ dome second floor railing and doors to second floor bedrooms. No cupola.


First and second floor view in 15 year old dome.

First and second floor view in 15 year old  34 foot in diameter dome. Second floor has library and bedroom with closet. Cupola with windows installed on top of dome.

Typically dome building kits do not contain riser panels. American Ingenuity decided to supply four foot tall riser panels with its Building Kit. This means the first row of panels of the dome shell are rectangular shaped panels and triangle shaped panels complete the rest of the shell. This vertical wall allows for convenient placement of furniture around the perimeter of the first floor and gives more head room and useable square footage on the second floor.

When a first floor room is designed under a second floor NOT in a high vaulted ceiling area, what is the ceiling height?  The four foot tall riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes and an 8’ tall ceiling in the 36′ through 48′ domes. 

How to have 8’6″ or 10′ ceiling heights in first floor rooms that have second floor above them. 

  1. The 22′ & 27′ dome riser panels can be increased from four feet tall to five feet; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of 8 ‘6″. 
  2. The 30′ - 48′ domes can have an extra two foot riser installed on top of the four foot tall risers; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of ten feet in rooms that are not designed in the high vaulted ceiling area.  The taller riser walls do not affect the second floor ceiling heights.

How can I relate to the first floor and second floor square footages in your domes? 

Cut out the to-scale ruler on the stock plan and use to measure the width and length of each room. Compare the plan room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want your new home’s rooms larger or smaller than your current room sizes.

Within the Planning Kit is a Stock Floor Plan Booklet that contains samples of stock plans and a to-scale ruler.  To view info about the Planning Kit, click on PK. To view the stock plans that are in the stock floor plan booklet, click on Stock Plans. When on the page, please scroll down to find the blue hyperlinks to click on.  If you do not see a stock plan on our web site to fit your life style, call us at 321-639-8777 and we can email other stock plans.  After reviewing the stock plans on our web site and the new ones we email, if you do not find a plan matching your families desires just make changes on one that is closest to your needs, scan and email to us along with your telephone number and notes as to what changes are wanted.  After emailing, please call to assure we received your email…..emails go into cyberspace without us receiving them.  We will review, call if questions and complete a Plans Quote showing Ai’s sale pricing to convert your ideas into custom building plans.

The square footage of living space shown with each stock floor plan indicates the total space inside the dome. The square footage of each room is included to help you visualize the size of the space, and does not include any closets or utility areas.

How much of the second floor has 6’ or 7′ taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to five feet of height. Around the perimeter of the second floor 5′, 6′ & 7′ height lines are drawn on each stock plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6 or 7′, cut out the to-scale ruler located on the plan or in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure the area from the 6′ or 7′ height line towards the center of the dome.  To view pictures of the interior of the dome, please click on Interiors and then view the hyperlinks.  Also on the left hand side of each of our web site pages is a menu bar.  Scroll down the bar to find the section named Pictures. Below Pictures there are twelve menu items to review that have various interior pictures.

Sphere - Frequency and 5/8 dome info:

American Ingenuity has developed a dome that is approximately a one half sphere with the four foot tall riser wall.  All our building plans and manufacturing specifications are for 3/8 domes on a four foot riser.  So sorry we do not manufacture a 5/8 dome.

Can I order a taller riser than four feet?  Yes a five foot riser can be ordered on the 22′ and 27′ domes and an additional two foot riser can be ordered for the 30′ thru 48′ dome sizes.  The two foot riser is installed on top of the four foot riser. Please call our office for pricing, 321-639-8777. Monday thru Friday 9-5 eastern time.

Ai’s  30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.

  • The 22’ & 27’ Domes are 2 frequency, ½ sphere on a 4’ vertical riser wall or a five foot tall riser panel.  The 22′ & 27′ domes have fewer panels than the three frequency domes so the panels in a 27’ weight more than the 30’ panels do.
  • The 30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.  Our 30′ dome it turns out to be almost the same height as a 5/8.  Also the 4′ riser wall makes for a better shaped entryway and allows the dome to link with our other size domes.
  • The 60 Dome is a 4 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser

Misc Info about Domes:

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 & Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Manufactured dome home kits 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 & 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 & 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 & open space to those who accept the challenge to build & live in their own dome


Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing four fifths of the second floor and only having one fifth of the second floor left open; thus causing high vaulted ceilings over parts of your first floor. Typically dome owners tend to leave one half of the second floor open thereby having high vaulted ceilings over half of their first floor rooms. Half opened areas would reduce the second floor & max square footages quoted below.

Dome Size
1st Floor
2nd Floor
Max sq.ft.

How is the second floor square footage determined in the American Ingenuity domes?  On the Ai Building Plans, the second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet.

Should I build any of the large American Ingenuity Domes and not install the second floor?

Not normally, but if that is what you desire Ai can design your building plans with no second floor. 

Because of the spherical shape of the geodesic dome, a second floor is a natural in domes larger than 30′ in diameter.  Consider installing a guest bedroom, guest bath and storage on the second floor.

If I do not want to access the second floor using stairs, what do I use?

Install a chair rail on the stairs or install a winch powered lift or install an elevator. See Handicap Accessible for more info.

Is there more useable square footage in your dome than a conventional house?

Yes, In a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us an attic is a space that holds hot or cold air waiting to pass into your home. In a dome the second floor space that would normally be an attic can be utilized. Around the second floor where the dome slopes to the floor, a 3′ to 4′ perimeter knee wall is built to hide this short space. In the knee wall doors can be installed to access the space for storage.  Behind the knee walls, AC ducts and wiring can be run.  Or in the knee wall air return grill with filter can be installed.  Desks, bed headboards, etc. can be placed against the knee wall.  Bedroom dressers, chests are installed along the interior walls of the rooms.