The exterior of the D-shaped hall was completed in 1894. The interior, finished in 1897, is built in Italian Renaissance style, and features mural decorations from the hand of William Palin. The central piece of art is a large painted work known as "The Temple of Fame" depicting a great number of philosophers and students. The McEwan Hall organ was built in 1897 by Robert Hope-Jones, and has been rebuilt and modified on various occasions afterwards.
Another striking feature of the McEwan Hall is its large dome. On the inside of the dome is a biblical inscription: Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she shall bring thee to honour. (Proverbs 4:7).