The building design has sought to create, in a sense, a classical ‘temple’ within the existing ‘romantic’ landscape. It does this by way of the formality of its planning, giving a main entrance gateway facing toward the junction on Stroude Road and to the existing site access and circulation road. The orientation of the building is east-west, in order to reduce the impact of the solar gain, with the south elevation protected against the summer sun by way of a roofed colonnade that also serves as a transition space / break out area between the building and the adjacent landscaped existing walled garden. The east and west elevations echo the traditional ‘Palladian’ ethos of a central portico with ‘solid’ masonry wings on either side punctured with window openings. At the eastern end this is manifest in the form of a 2-storey high portico that not only signals the entrance to the building but also protects the glazed entrance from excessive solar gain. The west end central section houses a secondary means of escape stair. The north and south elevations are treated in a manner to break down the visual mass of the building by use of varying window opening sizes, with part of the glazing occluded by interstitial blinds and the intervening solid construction being faced in a visually softer material than the masonry used on the other elevations. In all cases the glazing is clear and untreated, so as to maximise natural daylight and the visual link between the inside of the building and the landscaping.
The materials used allow for the interplay between ‘hard’ masonry type construction and ‘soft’ curtain walling in the form of timber paneling and timber interstitial blinds. This creates a materials palette, including clear glass and aluminium framing, that produces formality and informality at the same time, as shown on the elevational treatment of the building. The materials for the building have also been largely selected from ‘The Green Guide to Specification’, so as to ensure the sustainability of the building.