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
Babbacombe Cliff, near Torquay, Devon: contract drawingsRIBA21982

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

 
Chapel of St Lawrence, Rugby School, Rugby: perspective study, south elevation, plan and sectionRIBA22190


Design for a Baroque altarpiece: elevation with each half showing a different schemeRIBA35687

 
Babbacombe Cliff, near Torquay, Devon: contract drawings incorporating collaged fragments of wall fabricRIBA21981

 
Beach and Palace Pier, BrightonRIBA47310


Cheltenham Grammar School, CheltenhamRIBA54712

 
Design for a block of flats, Meadow Way, Letchworth: elevations, sections and plansRIBA21363

 
Bar cafe, Bardolino, Lake GardaRIBA50611


Birmingham Reference Library and the new central library, Chamberlain Square, BirminghamRIBA51396

 
Chichester Cathedral: detail from the panel depicting the 'Raising of Lazarus' in the south aisle of the choirRIBA38867

 
Design for a garden layout on Ynys Gaint, Menai StraitRIBA12722


Balfron Tower, Rowlett Street, Poplar, LondonRIBA45822

 
Berthold Lubetkin in top hat beside caryatid at the entrance to Highpoint Two, North Hill, Highgate, LondonRIBA2902-26

 
Chez Laurie, Thanet Way, Herne Bay, KentRIBA8058


Design for a cenotaph commemorating World War One for the churchyard of the Church of St Martin, Marple, Cheshire: elevation and planRIBA22513

 
Barbican Estate, City of London: close-up of the Lauderdale TowerRIBA34243

 
Black & White Milk Bar, Gray's Inn Road, London, at nightRIBA2561-10


Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, seen from Brushfield StreetRIBA3722

 
Design for a gazebo in the rose garden at Parkfield (now Witanhurst House), West Hill, Highgate, London, for Sir Arthur Crosfield: elevations, plan and sectionsRIBA41589

 
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

 
Churchfields Secondary School, West BromwichRIBA44314

 
Design for a loggia beside the tennis courts in the gardens at Parkfield (now Witanhurst House), West Hill, Highgate, London, for Sir Arthur Crosfield: elevations and sectionRIBA41590


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