The massive building is wrapped in limestone and brick laid in a Flemish bond pattern with broad expanses of green reflective glass and topped with a copper roof. A distinctive tower housing a complex of conference rooms crowns the south face of the building.
The building consists of four adjoining elements: a three-story laboratory wing to the north, a five-story office wing to the south, an atrium connecting these two parallel sections, and a distinctive five-story tower projecting from the south facade. The structure is an imaginative, functional building that is simultaneously traditional and contemporary in appearance. Eleven bridges, each containing a furnished lounge area, span the atrium and serve as walkways between the office and laboratory wings. The spacious atrium connecting the southern offices and the northern laboratory wings serves as the “main street” of the building. It is the site of the Beckman Café and numerous U of I-affiliated dinners and receptions.