I just read a magazine article about Vedic architecture. It would seem that the Eichler atrium does indeed have a very karmic function:
"Vedic homes ... contain a Brahmasthan, or a silent central core, which literally translates into "establish wholeness." [It] is not at the home's entrance, as some might assume, but rather at its center, acting as the home's axis, to harmonize with the universal laws of nature."
Totally describes an atrium, doesnt it? So cool, I never knew Eichler, Jones, or Emmons were into those Eastern philosophies :)
There's a link to the article & some more quotes from it, at my blog: http://thisislarry.blogspot.com/2005/07/my-brahmasthan-is-more-vedic-than.html