So many beautiful old buildings that we know and love, are built around an atrium, but this design is not just reserved for old architecture; a lot of new buildings use them to introduce light and create a feeling of openness where there might not have been any. So how has it remained such a spectacle of beauty from the Roman Empire all the way into recent years? SpecFinish spoke to Anthony Millington, Creative Director at Amron Architectural, to find out.

When the atrium originated in ancient Rome, it became the heart of the home, much like the kitchen is often the heart of our homes today. This is because of the open-air design which allowed light and ventilation into other rooms. Soon, the design became popular and made its way into almost every home. Traditionally, the atrium also housed the altar to the gods, so families would gather there to pray. The practicality of a room that spreads light and air soon became enticing, and the atrium was adopted by early Christians when they were designing their churches, therefore using the space to its full potential.

Now, the power of the atrium is considered the heart of a public building – the main space, where social activities often take place and people can gather. Atriums can create continuity between separate spaces and can define the interior architecture of a building or they can be a hidden space of tranquility that is not visible from the exterior. Whilst every atrium in existence has a great scale and purpose, they all serve specific functions and are the centre of attention to the beauty of the structure.

The popularity of atriums being built in commercial spaces is now seeing a demand in using metal mesh to add character. Metal mesh has a long tradition of outdoor use spanning hundreds of years. Over time, metal mesh has earned a reputation as a practical, durable yet surprisingly versatile product thanks in part to its uncanny ability to meet a wide range of specifications. The reason then is the same as it is now, metal mesh has inherent strength, it can be shaped, it is strong and most of all it is attractive.

Many famous buildings these days still boast impressive atriums and will continue to inspire new and restored buildings for many years to come.  They remain an aesthetically pleasing addition to modern day buildings and are worth considering when designing your next project, especially if it means extra light and promoting occupant wellbeing.

Look up and be inspired

Ideal for challenging projects, due to its decorative virtues and functionality, metal mesh can be produced in almost any metal and every finish imaginable to allow architects and designers the freedom they need to create.

Architects and designers are always looking at more inspirational approaches to the interiors of a space. The demand for creating more inviting spaces and the inclusion of a variety of different applications can completely transform the character of a room.


Product in practice

Eighty Fenchurch Street to the south-east of the City of London benefits from its convenient juxtaposition within the City’s insurance sector and trendy Aldgate. The new 15-storey office building, based on a conceptual Foster scheme, has been refined and extended by TP Bennett to provide 250,000 sq. ft of floorspace. This includes six landscaped roof-top terraces that offer outdoor space and stunning views of London’s skyline.

We worked closely with TP Bennett to specify our Zircon 10-9 metal mesh which was used throughout the centrally placed atrium, which playfully spirals throughout the building, creating a visual interest and allowing natural light when entering the entrance.

Developed by YardNine and Partners Group, the building is set to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating and a Wired Platinum Certification. This means tenants will benefit from facilities that enhance their wellbeing, and connectivity features that mean the building can adapt to their digital needs now and in the future.