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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101632 items
RIBA1069831:250 scale model of the proposed Mansion House Square scheme, City of London

 
RIBA9230310 and 11 Lansdown Crescent, Bath

 
RIBA1091410 and 12 Palace Court, Bayswater, London


RIBA7406610 Blackheath Park, London: a corridor

 
RIBA1856210 Blackheath Park, London: close-up of the steps leading from the terrace down to the garden

 
RIBA1528310 Blackheath Park, London: the entrance facade


RIBA2871-2410 Blackheath Park, London: the entrance facade

 
RIBA2875-2510 Blackheath Park, London: the entrance facade

 
RIBA7406510 Blackheath Park, London: the front elevation


RIBA2881510 Blackheath Park, London: the garden elevation

 
RIBA1856110 Blackheath Park, London: the garden elevation

 
RIBA7406110 Blackheath Park, London: the living room overlooking the garden


RIBA7406210 Blackheath Park, London: the living room seen from the hall

 
RIBA1856310 Blackheath Park, London: the living room seen from the hall

 
RIBA5161810 Blackheath Park, London: the main entrance


RIBA7406010 Blackheath Park, London: the rear staircase

 
RIBA7406410 Blackheath Park, London: the staircase

 
RIBA1573510 Blackheath Park, London: the stepped entrance


RIBA7406310 Blackheath Park, London: view towards the dining room

 
RIBA837410 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace

 
RIBA837510 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace


RIBA10227110 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

 
RIBA2652210 Downing Street, Whiltehall, London: glimpse of the front door

 
RIBA5728810 Downing Street, Whitehall, London


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