It is of a striking design and is situated prominently at the North Haugh on a ridge overlooking the St Andrews Links. The design of the hall resembles a ship passing at sea, a common theme of the architect's style.
It has become an important architectural landmark and has been ranked number 12 in the top 100 Scottish buildings of the last 50 years. Despite this, many students and townsfolk continue to regard it as an eyesore.
Each block is divided up into a number of floors accessed through a central stairwell from the ground floor concourse. Typically each floor consists of eight study-bedrooms arranged in two groups of four on either side of the stairwell, a number of showers/bathrooms and a pantry. The buildings' striking geometry is reflected in the irregular octagonal shape of the bedrooms. Blocks A, D and E have glass enclosures similar in shape to a garden greenhouse atop them to provide natural light to their stairwells; this has led to the top floor of block A being called "the greenhouse".
The hall itself has three common rooms in the central block, as well as a library and study room off the main concourse in E block and similarly a computer and study room at the end of A block. It is a catered residence, with three meals a day being served other than on Saturday and Sunday, when students can prepare food for themselves in the three communal kitchens which are situated on the main concourse.
While the main access to the hall is from the North Haugh, the central block's staircase leads to a path to David Russell Apartments, the nearby Sports Centre and playing fields. In the summer vacation the residence is open for use by conferences and block bookings.
As all residences in the University of St Andrews, it has a number of staff and students that contribute to its running. Various groups contribute to the operation and maintenance of the hall. A warden's team is responsible for student welfare, discipline, and has oversight for community development. A student committee elected by the residents, headed by the senior student, is responsible for student matters. A residence management team is responsible for the day to day running of the residence, including catering, house services, and maintenance