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.

Explore the collection & buy prints

104035 items
RIBA103149140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the bathroom

RIBA103161140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the front entrance

RIBA103152140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the hallway and stairs

RIBA103153140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the hallway and stairs at ground floor or basement level

RIBA103160140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the hallway looking towards the front door

RIBA103156140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the kitchen seen from the living room

RIBA103155140 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London: the rear elevation

RIBA42222141-143 High Street, Amersham, Buckinghamshire

RIBA5573514-15 East Heath Road, Hampstead, London

RIBA10541214-16 Great Portland Street, London

RIBA779314-16 Regent Street, London

RIBA7256214-18 Yeomans Row, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA101399142-144 Vincent Street, Glasgow

RIBA109525142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109522142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109519142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109516142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109513142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109510142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109523142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109520142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109517142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109514142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London

RIBA109511142-150 Arlington Road, Camden, London