At George Washington University’s new Milken Institute School of Public Health, the central atrium is a primary feature. One recent graduate likened it to the “Hogwarts stairs” from the Harry Potter series.
The central atrium integrates the administrative and teaching halves of the building. This enables workspaces deep within the building’s core to receive natural daylight, which falls from a skylight opening in the penthouse level to the basement floor 8 stories below, and reduces the need for artificial light. The extensive use of glass walls and open galleries around the atrium openings affords an array of views across, up and down through the different floor levels. Less than 20-feet wide in most places, the central atrium is intimate enough for conversations between occupants to occur from one side to another, and from floor to floor.