The front foyer of renowned textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen's East Hampton estate, Long House, serves as a year-round greenhouse and atrium. A glass ceiling is embedded along the spine of the peaked roof, about which Larsen says, “It’s remarkable that there aren’t more glass-ceilinged rooms. It didn’t cost more than a real ceiling, and it doesn’t lose or gain more heat, but if you can’t be outdoors, it’s very pleasant and the plants like it.” The beams and trusswork were made from Douglas fir in Minnesota. Photo by Jon Snyder.
The ground floor of Long House opens up to a three-story atrium and hosts a few pieces from Larsen’s wide-ranging collections, like a rope sculpture by Mariyo Yagi. Photo by Jon Snyder.
This creative apartment renovation in Paris, inspired by Le Corbusier, underscores its glass shell with mirrored furniture pieces. “The glass floor emerged as a way to visually interconnect the different spaces. It makes the living room feel twice as tall, and from the inside of the apartment on either floor you can look up and see the sky (very rare in Paris).” Photo by Filippo Bamberghi.
The back staircase in this Brooklyn brownstone abuts a glass facade overlooking the backyard that allows plenty of light into the kitchen area above, creating a two-story atrium. The art hanging on the wall is by artist Julie Thevenot. Photo by Andrew Cammarano.
This renovated Victorian, tucked into a slope in historic Russian Hill in San Francisco, holds a treasure trove of surprises. The home's resident and his dog sit in front of the home’s most impressive feature: an enclosed atrium overlooking the living area. In 2007, Dale Loughins outfitted the atrium with all manner of exotic epiphytes and an automated misting system. Photo by Misha Gravenor.
By creatively manipulating the angles and levels of surfaces on this modest Polish country house, architect Peter Kuczia achieved exceptionally high solar exposure, increasing its capacity to gain energy from the sun. The sun shines over the meadow on the backside of Kuczia’s carbon-saving creation, whose central atrium contains the living room. In summer, the glass doors open.
On an eight-foot-wide site in London, architect Luke Tozer cleverly squeezed in a four-story home equipped with green features and a direct pathway to natural sunlight in the form of a tiered central atrium. The glass wall separating the main living area and the inner courtyard garden opens like an accordion to create a barrier-free transition. Built-in planters along the walls of the courtyard add greenery without eating into the valuable surface area of the courtyard. Photo by Charlie Crane.
Living in a state that’s saturated with rain for much of the year, Oregonians rightly have an obsession with sunshine. So when Jennifer and Mattias Segerholt decided to move to Portland after five years in Los Angeles, a shared climate-based trepidation shaped their real estate search. “We’re trying to pretend this is our little ray of sunshine in the middle of Portland,” says Jennifer, with Mattias and Moa (right), of the couple’s Eichleresque abode. Photo by John Clark.
The literal and figurative centerpiece of the house is the atrium, through which light filters into the rest of the house year-round. Photo by John Clark.