The building accommodates facilities for scientific research at post-graduate level. It contains mainly laboratories and offices, supported by a number of seminar and meetings rooms as well as ancillary facilities.

The design of the attempts to integrate the building within a diverse context by breaking the volume of new accommodation into a number of interlocking masses disposed in different ways on the site. The volume of the new building is divided between two interlocking blocks: the north face of the lower one is aligned with the front face of the existing houses to the west; that of the higher one continues the line of the north elevation of the existing building to the east. The lower mass is set back in an easterly direction to create a pedestrian route through the building to the back of the site, which contains the main entrance and preserves the existing fire escape routes from the rear. The height of the taller volume matches that of the existing building to the east; the parapet of the lower one approximates to the height of the various buildings to the west. A terrace on the roof of the lower block at the junction between the two volumes offers views over the garden graveyard to the northeast.

The complex elements of the brief are organised by a simple planning strategy: offices and meeting rooms occupy a zone shallow enough to be naturally ventilated facing Camden Row and to enjoy views of the garden graveyard; a thin zone of circulation and service spaces separates them from a deep zone to the rear in which laboratories are located.