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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104041 items
RIBA4019Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking south-west

 
RIBA4021Joldwynds, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey: the entrance front

 
RIBA4022Design for Frinton Park Estate, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex


RIBA4023Design for an underground railway and bus station for London Transport, Newbury Park, Redbridge, London

 
RIBA4024Design for the British Pavilion, Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris 1937

 
RIBA4025Design for a lounge, RMS Orion


RIBA4027Design for a Polyfoto studio

 
RIBA4028Designs for the interior decoration of 1 Grosvenor Crescent, London, for Sir Wilfrid Lawson M.P.: alternative elevation of the staircase well showing decoration

 
RIBA4030Design for the interior decoration of a cinema auditorium, probably in Newcastle-upon-Tyne


RIBA4031Design for two stained glass windows of flowers and Arabic characters for Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA4032Design for the elevation of a wall of the picture gallery, Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA4033Design for the interior decoration of the Chapel of St Joseph, Oratory of St Philip Neri, Brompton Road, Kensington, London


RIBA4034Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: central chimneypiece in the smoking room

 
RIBA4035Designs for the interior decoration of 52 Prince's Gate, London, for Thomas Eustace Smith, Esq.: elevation of a wall and left doorway in the boudoir

 
RIBA4037Church of the Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, London


RIBA4038Preliminary design for Dance Music and Chamber Music Studio, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London

 
RIBA4039Design for Fouracre, West Green, Hampshire

 
RIBA4040Design for a party invitation for the Architectural Association Rugby Club


RIBA4041Design for a metropolis

 
RIBA4042Design for 'The Tudor House' public house, Shoreham, Sussex

 
RIBA4043Design for Gillander House, Clive Buildings, Kolkata (Calcutta), viewed from the south


RIBA4044Design for a house in Kent

 
RIBA4045Design for the decoration of the statue of Eros for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Piccadilly Circus, London

 
RIBA4047Design for a wallpaper or textile showing lilies