The form, language and materiality have been derived from its internal functions and historic environment which includes an 1820s Grade I listed building on York Gate, designed by John Nash, and the already achieved contemporary concert hall by John McAslan + Partners. Instead of a curved form clad in grey metal, the new building has an angular mineral-like form of earthy colouration: providing a fitting contrast of form, adding to the ever interesting enclave of contrast that makes up the Academy campus.
The building envelope is clad in a copper material which allows the multi-faceted form to be achieved as a continuous folding skin. The colour and natural weathering properties create a natural finish complimenting the diverse historic structures of brick, and stone surrounding the site. A new irregularly shaped acoustic room at the top is also provided, devoted to Opera.