When Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) was tapped to design 61-67 Oxford Street, London, the brief was to replace several buildings of disparate architectural styles with a single, seven-story, mixed-use building that could meet the needs of three types of tenants.

To fulfill this brief, the architects designed a wavy glass wall for the exterior that would appear as a single element, but deliver different levels of visual and thermal comfort for the various tenants within.

The simple and effective solution lay in varying the building’s glazing at different points—a fix which is not uncommon, but thoughtfully executed here. Twenty-foot-wide, single-glazed panels wrapping the ground and second levels, for example, allow for maximum visibility into retail spaces. Above, 10-footwide double glazing fronts offices; and five-foot bays of double glazing wrap the uppermost floors occupied by one- and three-bedroom duplexes. Bedroom windows had to be inoperable to keep out street noise. The architects balanced that measure with south-facing elevations that have access to a terrace through sliding doors.

Meanwhile, the apartments’ north- and east-facing elevations have floor-to-ceiling window walls to allow natural light into each space. To add a rainscreen without covering up the glazing, architects relegated it to the building’s courtyard-facing side; they’re made out of white terracotta panels and cover the entire elevation on all floors.

Together, these moves helped AHMM deploy the standout profile the retailer needs in this competitive shopping district. Says AHMM director Simon Allford, “As you walk past it, the building changes from reflective to solid mass to vitrine.”