At this stage Portland Stone was also selected as the external material for the building, given it was:
a stone identified with London for centuries and known to withstand the smoke and acid-laden atmosphere. The peculiar silvery beauty of its weathered surface may be said to be essential to the full realisation of the design.
The original plan consisted of a single structure stretching from Montague Place to Torrington Street with a central corridor linked by a series of wings and courtyards – one for each member institution. The scheme was to be topped by two towers; the taller Senate House and a smaller one to the north. Approval of the first stages were agreed by the Court, and the ground-work contractor took possession of the site on 5 April 1933 to begin work on the foundations of Senate House.
However, due to a lack of funds and the onset of WWII, the full design was gradually cut back, and only the Senate House and Library were completed in 1937.