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

103876 items
RIBA63216Woodstock Agricultural Research Centre, Sittingbourne, Kent

RIBA57555Woodstock Agricultural Research Centre, Sittingbourne, Kent: the link between the technical information building and the analytical laboratory

RIBA102019Woodstock Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London

RIBA102020Woodstock Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London

RIBA102003Woodstock Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London

RIBA74164Woodstock Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London

RIBA75186Woodway Lane, Coventry

RIBA75187Woodway Lane, Coventry

RIBA75188Woodway Lane, Coventry

RIBA75189Woodway Lane, Coventry

RIBA73501Wool Pavilion, Empire Exhibition, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow: display cabinet

RIBA30854Woolands stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: the dining area display

RIBA75238Woolavington Estate, Bridgewater, Somerset

RIBA75239Woolavington Estate, Bridgewater, Somerset

RIBA30845Woollands 21 Shop, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA4986Woolland's stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: lateral view showing the living and dining area display

RIBA3482-61Woolland's stand, Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: the kitchen display

RIBA55899Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55900Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55903Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55904Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55898Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: entrance to shop

RIBA55896Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: shop window and entrance

RIBA92362Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: the men's department