What to Consider When Specifying a Glass Atrium

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Maximising the effect of a glass atrium on a commercial project

The concept of an atrium has evolved from ancient Roman times. In these times an atrium was considered to be an open-roofed entrance hall or a central court within a commercial building.

In England the weather does not permit for open roof designs, so the concept was forced to evolve, combining shelter with open and airy spaces. A glass atrium takes the evolved concept ideas and makes for the best outcome, with the natural light benefits of an open roof, without the issue of weather or temperature changes.

Roman atrium open roofed courtyard

When you opt for glass over traditional roof materials, you gain uninterrupted views and free-flowing light. With the introduction of natural light, the atrium can be a key design feature, making a commercial project really stand out. Another benefit of a glass atrium is having year-round use of the enclosed area, regardless of the weather conditions.

Incorporating an atrium into architectural designs increases the usable space of a property, even creating additional storage areas if desired. Where a room may appear dark or cramped, the introduction of a glass atrium above would make the space feel bigger, brighter and therefore immediately more usable. A reception area could be transformed using this method, instantly making the front desk or lobby feel inviting.

IQ can use many systems in conjunction with a glass atrium to create a bespoke end result, even adding to the aesthetic. Added ventilation can be included in this, like a Sieger opening roof light within the atrium structure, dependant on the project requirements. Having a glass atrium offers better ventilation systems than contemporary roofs are able to.


Glass atrium commercial entrance doors


Some things to consider:

  • How do you want the glass atrium to feature in the building?

Whether the atrium is going to be part of the buildings entrance design or in the centre, these design intentions will determine the aesthetic of the glass. Thinking about the role you want a glass atrium to play in the overall building design will help to determine the finer details. You will also need to consider whether there will be additional windows or doors within the design.

  • Glazing specification

Do you require double or triple glazing? If there is a thermal performance you are working towards, the specification stage would be the time to mention this.

Having a thermal performance rating to work towards would impact the design and choices made for your glass atrium. Check if your commercial project requires you to obtain a fire rating for the glass systems before selecting materials.

  • Coatings or Processes

Processes like heat soaking would fall into this category. Using heat soaked glass may be applicable for a two-storey high or hard to access panes of glass. For commercial projects, solar coating may be required to ensure a comfortable temperature can be maintained year-round. In some environments heated glass is used to prevent condensation on the glass.

  • Access

Usually, entrance designs that feature glass atriums do not require any access or walk on points. A glass atrium as a central feature within a building could have a flat roof or specify a walk-on rooflight. This will need to be considered at the point of design to ensure the area is accessible and safety regulations are met. Opting for a walk-on glass floor would offer the ultimate luxury aesthetic. 

  • Finishes

The finish of your glass atrium can be matched to the current or planned aesthetic of the overall project. You can select a RAL colour for any framework included or have frameless glass backpainted in keeping with a modern theme.

All of our glass atriums are completely bespoke and can be created in any of the above combinations and specifications. Call 01494 722 880 to speak to a member of our team today if you are thinking about specifying a glass atrium.


Glass box restaurant entrance atria

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Lucy Thompson

Lucy is a member of the Marketing team at IQ Glass. She spends most her time working on the company's website and SEO strategy. She also enjoys dabbling in photography and putting together other creative content.
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