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This paper focuses on atrium characteristics that influence the admittance and distribution of solar gain and daylight. We report on results of an extensive series of scale model tests in a large sky simulator. Total visible transmittance of complex atrium glazing systems were measured using a large, newly developed integrating sphere. Performance results are described in terms of several generic geometric factors (cross section, length, width, height), orientation, interior surface treatments, and glazing systems for different sun and sky conditions. We describe how measured illuminance data in atria can be used to determine if an atrium design will admit adequate light for plant growth or provide adequate light for typical office tasks in spaces adjacent to the atrium.