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Useable Second Floor In the

American Ingenuity Geodesic Domes

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.

What is the ceiling height under the second floor? (This answer does not pertain to the high vaulted ceiling areas)

The four foot tall standard riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes.  The 36' dome can have an 8' first floor ceiling height if there is no second floor door dormer.  The 40' thru 48' can have 8’ tall ceilings.  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".  the 30' - 48' domes can have an extra two foot riser installed ontop of the four foot tall risers; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of ten feet.  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? 

You can relate to the room sizes within any of American Ingenuity’s stock plans by cutting out the ruler located on the tan paper in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet. The Stock Floor Plan Booklet is in the Planning Kit.

Use the ruler to measure the width and length of each room and compare those 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.

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 taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to the knee wall although part of this space will have reduced headroom, as shown by the ceiling height lines that are drawn on each plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6', cut out the to-scale ruler in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure between the 7' and 6' height lines.


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. The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so taxes will be less.
  • On the Ai Price List, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the area starting at three feet.
  • On the Ai Stock Floor Plans, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the areas starting at three feet.

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

No. Because of the shape of the geodesic dome, a second floor is a natural. It would not be cost effective to build a dome and not install and use the second floor areas. You could install your guest bedroom, guest bath and storage on the second floor. However, any of our small domes, 22', 27', 30', can be built without a 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 it is just a space that holds hot or cold air which is waiting to leak into your house. In a dome you get to use the second floor space that would normally be an attic in a conventional house. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more useable square footage in a dome than a conventional house.



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