Changing faces: architectural façades collection

Clever devices for comparing designs

Inspired by the We Live in the Office exhibition which takes us on an architectural journey as told through the history of the façade we thought it would be fun to put together a gallery of architectural drawings all of which feature moveable flaps, an ingenious graphic device by which the reader can view alternative designs on one sheet.

One of the major proponents of this device was the landscape architect Humphry Repton. Repton would produce a Red Book, so called because of their red Morocco leather bindings, for the client of each of his proposed landscape schemes. These bound volumes of essays and watercolours served as persuasive marketing tools for his work and included both 'before' and 'after' views of the development sites utilising overlaid paper flaps to indicate Repton's suggested improvements. One such example held by the RIBA is the Langley Park Red Book for Sir Peter Burrell in 1790 for his Beckenham seat.

One of Repton’s sons, the architect George Stanley Repton, also employed this device to good effect for example at Kitley House showing 'before' and 'after' views from all four points of the compass for the MP for Devonshire, Edmund Pollexfen Bastard.

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105061 items
RIBA3986Contract design for the principal tower of the Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London

 
RIBA3987Design for the Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London: detail of centre block of front elevation

 
RIBA3989Preliminary design for Religious Studio, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London


RIBA3990Design for a fountain in the gardens at Buckingham Palace, London

 
RIBA3992Design for the completion of the hall at Highclere Castle, Hampshire

 
RIBA3993Designs for the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: two half-plans and perspectival elevation of principal doorway


RIBA3994Design for Clobb Copse, Buckler's Hard, Beaulieu, Hampshire

 
RIBA3995Designs for the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: perspective of gallery with skeletons

 
RIBA3996Design for a gardener's cottage at Laverstoke House, Hampshire, for Melville Porter, MP: perspective


RIBA3997Design for the Great Hall, Euston Station, London

 
RIBA3999Design for a desk for Ernest Debenham: front and side elevations of the construction and marquetry

 
RIBA4000Preliminary design for the interior of RMS Orion


RIBA4001Design for a lounge, RMS Orion

 
RIBA4002Design for the interior of RMS Orion: detail of a lounge

 
RIBA4003Design for Great Portland Street Underground Station for the Metropolitan Railway, London


RIBA4004Unexecuted design for the interior of the News Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

 
RIBA40076 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA40086 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire: the garden front


RIBA40096 Temple Gardens (left), Moor Park, Hertfordshire, seen from golf course

 
RIBA40106 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire: the living room

 
RIBA4011Church of St Mary, Studley Royal, North Yorkshire: the ornately decorated vaulted chancel and choir


RIBA4013Project for a villa

 
RIBA4016Drawing of the Sydney Opera House under construction

 
RIBA4017Design for the British Pavilion, Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris 1937