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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99863 items
Architect's house, Warren Road, Hayes Common, Bromley, London: the south entrance facade at nightRIBA55842

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City of London: perspective sectionRIBA92181

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

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

Barley Wood, Wrington, Somerset, for Hannah More: perspective of the house in its groundsRIBA83836

Bath Hotel, Bath Assembly Rooms and pleasure gardens, Tynemouth: perspectiveRIBA83824

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

BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, Hammersmith, London: studio 8 and its lighting gridRIBA57869

BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, Hammersmith, London: the main entrance and central courtyard with sculpture of Helios by nightRIBA55167

Brunswick Close estate, Islington, LondonRIBA60626

Bungalows at Jaywick Sands, EssexRIBA77818

Cheltenham Grammar School, CheltenhamRIBA54712

County hall, offices and library, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: the county officesRIBA76188

Design for 23 Queensborough Terrace, London, for W. Ward Higgs Esq.: details of door furniture (letterbox, door handle and escutcheon plate)RIBA94238

Design for a wallpaper or textile showing winged angel figures and devilsRIBA94943

Design for a wallpaper or woven silk incorporating a repeating pattern of seahorses and wavesRIBA94941

Design for an oak tableRIBA94940

Design for Kamesburgh, North Road, Brighton, for William Kerr Thomson: perspectiveRIBA85932

Design for the architectural layout of St Bride's Avenue, Fleet Street, City of London: perspective of the proposed schemeRIBA67516

Design for the Church of Saint Nicholas, Tooting, London: elevation of east end (probably design for a chancel)RIBA67120

Design for Whitehall Palace, London: section through the great courtRIBA82020

Designs and working drawings for St Margaret's Convent, East Grinstead, West Sussex: plan, elevations and sections of the eastern chapelRIBA81215

Designs for a castellated gateway, possibly at Redbourne Hall, Lincolnshire: plan and elevationRIBA67920

Designs for a house for William Stewart Rose Esq., Gundimore, Christchurch, Hampshire: design for the interior decoration of a roomRIBA65054

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