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In France, the design of smoke control systems for buildings open to the public commonly depends on regulatory requirements on minimal values of smoke vent areas for each building space, in natural ventilation. These regulations proved unsatisfactory for atrium buildings, and in some cases building designers as well as safety authorities must be provided with specific means for designing a smoke control system and evaluating its efficiency. This paper gives an illustration of what computer analysis can bring for this purpose, through the example of an atrium building in a new business centre near Paris (CNIT / La Defense). Simulations of smoke movement throughout this 5-storey building containing an 18-metre high atrium were carried out with the CSTB multiroom computer code CIFI. The roughness of zonal description in the model is balanced by the capability of treating the physical system as a whole for the computer simulations. Consequently, the analysis allowed us to draw relevant information from simulation results, and then contributed to the elaboration of a reasonable agreement resulting in the acceptance of the project (the business centre has been recently inaugurated).