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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96355 items
41-53 Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow: end of the terraceRIBA14660

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

 
Barbican Estate, City of London: typical elevation of a terrace blockRIBA97301


Bridgeway Hall Methodist Mission (fomerly Arkwright Methodist Church), The Meadows, Nottingham, seen from Kirkwhite StreetRIBA48844

 
'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

 
Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the terraces of four-storey maisonettes along Ibsley GardensRIBA26232


Battersea 'A' Power Station, London, by nightRIBA2478

 
Bungalows at Jaywick Sands, EssexRIBA77818

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


Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: view across the estate from the access deck of a maisonette slabRIBA26242

 
Battersea Power Station, London, seen from across the River ThamesRIBA25208

 
Carloway Broch (Dun Carloway), Lewis, Outer HebridesRIBA11879


Aldergrove Airport, Belfast: the pier airsideRIBA28285

 
Architect's house, Warren Road, Hayes Common, Bromley, London: the south entrance facade at nightRIBA55842

 
BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, Hammersmith, London: road approach to the central circular blockRIBA55171


Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, seat of the Earl of Carlisle: elevation of the garden frontRIBA32832

 
Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: one of the maisonette blocksRIBA52857

 
Barbican Estate, City of London: perspective of final scheme, nearly as built, looking towards the City of London School for GirlsRIBA94804


Breves Lalique Galleries, Bond Street, LondonRIBA5151

 
Church of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, City of London: plans, elevation and section of the steepleRIBA32903

 
55 and 57 Quendon Way, Frinton-on-Sea, EssexRIBA7099


Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the staggered line of old people's cottagesRIBA4620

 
Barstable Grammar School, Basildon, EssexRIBA44346

 
Britannic House, 1 Finsbury Circus, London: a meeting roomRIBA24820


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