An atrium is an interior court on to which rooms open. The atrium has become an almost universal feature of commercial buildings. Occasionally, the incorporation of an atrium can transform existing buildings.


Although much of the appeal of atria lies in their aesthetic attributes, they have the practical advantage of bringing natural light and ventilation often deep into a building.


The shape and form of the atrium also has an important effect on the availability of natural lighting in the spaces adjacent to the atrium. Several factors need to be considered:


  • The structure of the atrium roof can reduce its transparency by between 20 and 50%. This is an important factor if the ground level is meant to be predominantly naturally lit.

  • The offices enclosing the atrium will benefit from a measure of natural light as well as external views. Access to natural light will be improved significantly if the sides of the atrium are stepped outward.

  • The surface finish in respect of color and reflectance of the atrium walls will influence the level of daylight reaching the lower floors.