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

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98386 items
Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: view showing the triaxial plan form of the spiral staircase of Bevin CourtRIBA5251

 
Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the entrance hall and corridorRIBA72715

 
Norman FosterRIBA2785-21


Penguin Pool, London Zoo, Regent's Park, London: the elliptical pool and rampRIBA2427-3

 
Philharmonie, BerlinRIBA3519-62

 
Skylon, Festival of Britain, South Bank, LondonRIBA2706-17


St Edward's, Brotherton, North Yorkshire, with Ferrybridge B Power Station behindRIBA2825-22

 
St Enoch Station, Glasgow: arched roof over the platformsRIBA2995-31

 
The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, City of London: the Threadneedle Street and Prince's Street frontsRIBA2923-27


The Barn, Exmouth, Devon, before the fire of 1905RIBA14207

 
Trellick Tower, Cheltenham Estate, Edenham Street, North Kensington, LondonRIBA2516-9

 
Tribune Tower, ChicagoRIBA3862


Unexecuted design for Frinton Hotel, Frinton-on-Sea, EssexRIBA3316

 
Unexecuted design for Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London: perspective view of the building and proposed roadRIBA31583

 
13 Highbury Terrace Mews, Islington, London: the garden elevationRIBA57576


57 White Lion Street, LondonRIBA55761

 
'A Prospect of the City of London from the south east / in the year 1945 shewing its architecture, the destruction caused / by the King's enemies during the previous five years and some of / the means whereby the safety of the citizens was maintained'RIBA97679

 
Acland Burghley School, Tufnell Park, Camden, London: main entrance rampRIBA64394


Aldergrove Airport, Belfast: the restaurant and lounge area in the terminal buildingRIBA76764

 
Aldergrove Airport, Belfast: the terminal building seen from the approach roadRIBA76769

 
Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: a terrace of houses in Norley ValeRIBA75080


Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: one of the slab blocksRIBA59318

 
Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the point blocksRIBA59323

 
Architect's house, Warren Road, Hayes Common, Bromley, London: the south entrance facadeRIBA55841


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