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Top 12 Impressive Atriums From Around The World

31 October 2010 No Comment

Ever since they were invented, atriums were always an exceptional touch in architecture. During the Roman Empire, the central courts and rooms of the wealthy freedmen were called atriums. In modern architecture, the atrium is a symbol of prosperity, innovation and, sometimes, even opulence. There is a special aura that surrounds all the buildings that have as a feature these amazing rooms. In the following we will try to understand why are the atriums so special and where can we admire the finest examples.

1. Shanghai, People’s Republic of China: Jin Mao Tower


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It’s no doubt that China is an economical super-power. A good economy means more funds for ambitious investments projects, including amazing sky-scrapers. The Jin Mao Tower is a 530 million USD project and it is surely one of the most astonishing buildings in Shanghai. The 88-story landmark hosts the Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel, several other offices and a wonderful atrium that starts at the 56th floor and goes all the way up to the 87th floor. This vaulted 21-story atrium displays 28 spiral corridors and stairways that create a futuristic view. In fact, this 115 high structure was already featured in three movies.

2. Atlanta, United States of America: Hyatt Regency Atlanta


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The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta was erected in 1967 and it was the first hotel ever built around an open air atrium. This new concept was a real trend setter in designing luxury hotels and it basically redefined the open space within a building. The Hyatt Regency Hotel shortly became a landmark in Atlanta and 50 years after its construction, it is still considered one of the greatest buildings in the city. This year, the atrium will undergo a 60 million USD facelift in order to refresh its look. Before this whole process, the atrium was packed with dozens of planters that really enlivened the classic ambiance.

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Burj Al Arab


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People are fascinated by innovative and luxurious hotels. Burj Al Arab was one of the first architectural wonders provided by the famous Emirate of Dubai. The fourth tallest hotel in the world stands on an artificial island, 280 meters out in the sea. Symbolizing the sail of an Arabian vessel, the V shaped wings of the hotel enfold a huge atrium. This is certainly one of the largest atriums ever built within a hotel since it is 590 feet high, taking up about one third of the total surface of the building. The marvelous design of the atrium display huge pillars gilded in 22 karat gold and blue painted inner floors that fade into a light green on the upper stores. The sumptuous ambience is completed by a 138 feet water jet shoot by the main fountain in the lobby.

4. Cologne, Germany: Peek & Cloppenburg


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Peek & Cloppenburg is one of the most famous fashion brands in Central Europe that always made a difference. Just the look of their stores is definitely a good reason that supports their original statement. Probably one of the most fascinating Peek & Cloppenburg shop in Europe is the one located in Cologne, in Schildergasse. Courageously designed by Renzo Piano, a world renowned Italian architect, the building turned out to be not just a store, but a public space wherefrom you can admire all the surrounding landmarks. The building is sustained by 66 wooden arches, creating some large spans that border a bright atrium. The atrium is fully transparent and it covers five floors, reaching out 111 feet in height.

5. The Hague, Netherlands: The City Hall


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One of the things that say the most about a community is the look of their civic and administrative centers. Although it was built in 1995, The Hague’s new City Hall continues to be one of the most modern structures in the city and a striking building, not just for the tourists, but for the locals as well. The white and the light are the main features of the building, not to mention its impressive atrium. This is 164 feet high and 459 feet long and beside the city hall’s bureaus, it includes a public library, shops and other offices. The atrium is covered by a special glass roof that allows the sunlight but at the same time, controls the inside temperature.

6. Vorarlberg, Austria: The Eco-Friendly Secondary School


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When one person learns at the first stages of education that protecting the environment and having an eco-friendly behavior is the only way for a safe and healthy future, it’s more likely that he will adopt this attitude. When one literally learns in a green facility then the environment already benefits from its existence. It’s the particular case of a school in a small Austrian village that was designed as a passive-energy structure. Although it is not that impressive in its dimension like the previous examples, the atrium of the school facilitates the sunlight in the classrooms, even on the lower levels. This assures the energy-efficient feature of the building. It’s quite simple: more light means simpler methods of preserving the heat and therefore a lower consumption of energy.

7. Valencia, Spain: The Atrium House



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Progressive architects always want to break myths and reinvent concepts. One of them is the Spanish architect Fran Silvestre that has designed a minimalist and urban home concept that reinvents the idea of a private atrium. Although the L-shaped structure itself does not include an atrium, its position when referring to the urban elements that surround the house inoculates the idea of an atrium. The reflection of the water in the pool and the reflection of the adjacent components in the large windows of the house complete the idea of continuity that represents an atrium. This new design might reinvent the use of atriums in building new homes.

8. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Conservation Headquarters


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In New Zealand, the Department of Conservation is responsible for preserving the historical and natural heritage of the country. In 2007, they have set a new standard in accomplishing their mission by opening New Zealand’s first five star ecologically-sustainable office building. The air flow and the inside temperature here are managed through a “chilled-beam” system, enhanced by the large atrium of the building. The latter covers the entire buildings, smoothing the airflow and allowing the natural light. While the atrium and the cladding windows help heating the building, the “chilled-beam” system is used to cool it. This is an excellent example of how the atrium can work not just on an aesthetic level, but also on a green and sustainable one.

9. Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America: Genzyme Headquarters


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Genzyme is a biotechnology company founded in 1981 that tries to improve the life of humans by providing advanced treatment and medication. Being a continuously growing corporation, they needed a new headquarters that reflect their values and that will provide a positive environment for the employees. The new structure was designed by the Germans from Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner. The 12-story office building is sheathed entirely in glass and it includes an atrium with unique features. This complex stepped atrium facilitates the sunlight and it works both as an air-extract space and an air flow source. This, along with the solar chimney and the double façade works on adjusting the inside temperature before applying the heating and cooling systems.

10. Bangkok, Thailand: Amari Atrium Hotel



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Once famous worldwide for its breathtaking sights and its relatively cheap prices for transportation and accommodation, Thailand is rapidly becoming a top ecotourism destination. The Amari Atrium Hotel in Bangkok is the world’s first hotel that emphasizes not just the best services, but also protects the environment. The award-winning facility features an impressive lobby, with an exclusive illuminating center piece. This relies on the open space provided by the curved atrium that allows a natural warming process.

 11. New York, United States of America: Edgar Street Towers

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Although it is currently just a project, this ambitious architectural design seeks to recall the importance that once Edgar Street had in Manhattan. This is set to include spaces for living, working, art, performing, retail and a public library. The towers will use an innovative bio-lightning system that charges during the day and consumes in the night. Moreover, its impressive atrium will function as a bio-filtration dispositive, enhanced by the terrariums that occupy the hollow spaces between the floors.

12. Chicago, Illinois, United States of America: Clean Technology Tower


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The Windy City might be the home of the first energy independent tower in USA. Designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, the tower will be built on the principles of biomimetics, a science that examines the models in nature in order to solve human problems. The Clean Technology Tower will have wind turbines located at the building’s corners and a special apex. This will include a panoramic atrium and a domed double roof cavity that will direct the wind toward the turbines. Moreover, the cavity will be covered in solar cells, in order to maximize the capture of energy.

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