With the foundations in place, the structure took shape in the form of three sections: the porch or vestibule, or 'Ulam', was outside the Temple proper and faced east. It led, via the main entrance, into the body of the Temple, or 'Hekal'. The Holy of Holies, or 'Debir', occupied one third of the Temple furthest from the main entrance. The combined internal measurements of the 'Hekal' and 'Debir' were about 90 feet (27 m) long, 30 feet (9 m) wide and 40 feet (12 m) high. However, the floor of the Debir was raised about 10 feet (3 m) so that this chamber then formed a perfect cube of about 30 feet (9m). A frontal staircase gave access to it. There may also have been a room underneath, but this is unconfirmed.
The Ark was to be positioned in the centre of the Debir, flanked by two large wooden gold-plated winged cherubim. The whole of the Holy of Holies, or Sanctum Sanctorum, was to be shrouded from public view by linen curtains coloured red, blue and purple.
The walls of the Temple were constructed in an unusual manner. First were laid three courses of dressed stone, followed by one layer of interlocking cedar beams or ties, then another three courses of dressed stone, followed by another layer of timber, and so on (21). It has been suggested that the reason for this was to make the structure better able to withstand the occasional earth tremors in that region. (The second Temple was built similarly) Indeed, even today, many buildings between eastern Turkey and Afghanistan are built this way. Surprisingly, it is only in the last half of this century that this principle of structural elasticity, in respect of large buildings, has been re-adopted. It is now in widespread use in California and Japan.
Interconnecting annexes, established upon three floors, abutted three sides of the Temple. There were approximately 30 such rooms, each with one or more slitted windows to enable use by archers if defence was needed. None of these rooms had any access to the Temple itself: their entry was gained via doors and stairs let into each side of the porchway. The Temple itself had its own single entrance via the vestibule. There were never three entrances to the Temple itself, although there may well have been such entrances to the Temple precincts.
Initially, all stonework within the Temple, as well as that outside the whole structure, was clad completely in wooden panelling. The roof itself was almost flat, supported by joists of cedar which, in turn, were supported by seven pairs of pillars. The reported absence of the use of metal tools in the construction of the Temple edifice has never been made clear; i.e. whether it was purely the lack of sound, or whether no metal tools at all were used. If the latter, it would have necessitated the preparation of timber beams and panelling well away from the site. Obviously metal tools had to be used in the underground quarry where, naturally, no noise would have been audible on the surface.