The structure is framed in steel with concrete floors acting compositely with steel beams for efficiency and economy. The elegant facades of masonry and glass are framed and supported by steelwork fixed to the primary frame and isolated from stainless-steel masonry fixings.
The support framing to projecting masonry at eaves, curtain walling and relief features were particularly intricate and required careful planning, detailing, and construction to achieve the desired result. In the southwest corner of the site a plant room and transformer enclosure serving the main university library building had to be kept fully operational throughout the build.
Further constraints on available site area, planning height restrictions and existing boundary structures demanded that the new building incorporate the existing plant within the ground floor. To facilitate this, columns for the new structure needed to be taken through the existing concrete roof and supported on large transfer beams with columns taken down to new foundations formed at available locations alongside existing plant foundations and plinths. Cross bracing for the new building had to be carefully positioned to avoid critical existing plant, requiring detailed surveys of the installation.
Foundations were placed on the weathered rock at a relatively shallow depth. Care was required with underpinning operations to maintain the stability of existing foundations to the library's plant facility while new foundations were formed. It was also necessary to avoid any disturbance to an existing service duct running underneath the new building from the plant room to the university library. Vehicular access to the library had to be maintained through the site both during construction and in the permanent condition through a vehicle passageway through the building.
An existing combined sewer had to be diverted to allow construction of the building. The building drainage is formed in separate systems, with foul water taken directly to the diverted sewer. Surface-water disposal incorporates several sustainable urban-drainage techniques, including porous pavings and infiltration trenches to attenuate flows prior to discharging into the combined sewer.