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

105061 items
RIBA4168Housing, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA4169Housing at Lincoln Way, Corby New Town, Northamptonshire

 
RIBA4170Housing, Woodhead Court, Westfield, Cumbernauld New Town


RIBA4171Sir Thomas White Building, St John's College, Oxford

 
RIBA4172Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, Devon

 
RIBA4173Hodek Apartment Building, Prague


RIBA4174Nuffield College, Oxford: the Quad

 
RIBA4175St Catherine's College, Oxford: view looking north of the inward-facing elevation of the west residential block on the left and the auditorium and library on the right

 
RIBA4176Keble College, Oxford: the gateway


RIBA4177Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: the Wordsworth Building with Talbot Hall on the left

 
RIBA4178York Minster: the north transept with the Five Sisters Window

 
RIBA4179York Minster: the nave looking east


RIBA4183St Mary, Stratford-le-Bow, Stratford, London: reconstruction following war damage

 
RIBA4184Abbaye du Thoronet, Le Thoronet

 
RIBA4185Bridget Riley and John Weeks with Riley's murals, St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London


RIBA4187St Antony's College, Oxford: hall and common rooms

 
RIBA4188St Antony's College, Oxford: dining hall

 
RIBA4194Palau d'Esportes Sant Jordi, Barcelona


RIBA4195Selfridges department store, Bull Ring, Birmingham: the glazed entrance

 
RIBA4196Cover of journal Tee-Square & Tape, January 1928

 
RIBA4197Southside Halls of Residence, Imperial College, Kensington, London


RIBA4199Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Stuttgart: entry of pedestrian route ramp from entrance level into rotunda

 
RIBA4200Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Stuttgart: detail of support of theatre arch

 
RIBA4202Department of the Environment, Marsham Street, Westminster, London