The seemingly triple height façade of the L5 Building disguises the fact there in fact seven floors of accommodation. Entry is via an open and wide ceremonial staircase. Alternative secondary stairs are provided at either end of the block but it is the grand entry sequence that makes sense of the building as a whole. As the steps lead up to a central courtyard, the three components of the building are revealed, comprising the two storey podium beneath and the two stacks of accommodation. This inner world lies at the heart of the teaching and administration facilities. The trees, timber decking and associated informal café within this communal space contrast sharply with the rigidity of the accommodation alongside.
This is however a democratic place; the academic staff offices and research laboratories within the upper levels are set back from the façade in order to allow overlooking, movement and activity to be provided by circulation zones, meeting areas and varied shared spaces which line the edges. Teaching spaces, meanwhile, are located deep within the podium, where flexibility is achieved by moveable walls. The clever provision of natural light and external views, though at a premium here, has been a guiding factor in the layout.
The deep blade and sill sections of the richly layered facade, so effectively modelled by the strong sunlight, also serve to shade and moderate the internal environment, while simultaneously housing recessed and inclined floor to floor height panels of glass within their oversized openings, together with a ventilated cavity and internal metal fabric blinds. The result is a constantly changing, facetted and dynamic inner surface, subtly responsive to the changing conditions by day and curiously dominant and all powerful by night.